Denis Cohen
Between strategy and protest: how policy demand, political dissatisfaction and strategic incentives matter for far-right voting

Political Science Research and Methods, 2020: 8, issue 4, pp. 662-676
ISSN: 2049-8470 (print), 2049-8489 (online)

What attracts voters to far-right parties? Emphasizing the repercussions of far-right parties' past achievements on the mobilization of voters' electoral demand, this paper develops an argument of context-dependent strategic far-right voting. Far-right parties seek to mobilize on a combination of demand for nativist policies and anti-establishment protest sentiment. Their capacity of doing so, however, critically depends on the strategic incentives they supply. My findings from a comparative analysis based on six waves of the European Election Study show that far-right parties' past attainment of legislative strength boosts the credibility of their policy appeal and broadens the scope of their protest appeal whereas their participation in government jeopardizes their capacity to mobilize on popular discontent.