Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Political Science

First Advisor

Sarah Sokhey

Second Advisor

Jennifer Fitzgerald

Third Advisor

Carol Shiue


Both radical right and left parties are on the rise across Europe. Previous research has shown similarities between voters of radical parties. However, prior analyses have focused on voters of one radical party, while ignoring the other. In turn, differences between radical party voters are inferred rather than proven through qualitative evidence. In this study, I examine support for radical right and left parties across the same years and nine European countries, in order to understand why voters prone to radicalism support either the left or right. I find that while voters of both parties share commonalities, they differ in their main motivations. Radical right supporters can be characterized as individual’s upset with their current socioeconomic status and immigration. In contrast, supporters of the radical left tend to be driven by a strong ideological perspective and less so by issue grievances.