Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Sarah Wilson Sokhey

Second Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Fitzgerald

Third Advisor

Dr. Benjamin Teitelbaum

Abstract

What conditions influence a voter’s decision to vote or support the radical right? In this paper, I argue that inequality plays an important role in boosting support for the radical right, but that the relationship is more complicated and depends on where a voter lives and under what conditions. I compile a cross-sectional dataset of Swedish municipalities and conduct an original survey experiment of Swedish citizens in order to determine how inequality impacts support for the radical right, how voters generate perceptions around the issue, and then how they use those perceptions in political decision making. I find that inequality increases support for the radical right across Sweden, but that the relationship is complicated and nuanced depending on how a voter feels about their neighborhood, whether they live in a rural or urban area, and how inequality is changing in their municipality. These findings contribute to how scholars understand the radical right and how they receive support by identifying how in some cases, the relationship between a variable is conditional on other factors like the population density and that direct relationships can be misleading. However, support does not always mean votes and these findings identify a pitfall in using the share of the vote as the sole dependent variable. As further research is conducted into the radical right in Sweden and Europe, it is important to capture support for the radical right in a variety of ways and not just through vote shares as a proxy for support.

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