Werner Krause, Denis Cohen, Tarik Abou-Chadi
Does Accommodation Work? Mainstream Party Strategies and the Success of Radical Right Parties

Workshop "Spatial Models of Voting", Mannheim, July 26th to July 27th, 2019

This short article investigates how mainstream party strategies affect the success of radical right parties. It is a widespread view that mainstream party accommodation of radical right core issue positions would curtail the radical right’s success. Empirical evidence for this claim, however, remains inconclu- sive. Using party level data as well as micro-level voter transitions between mainstream and radical right parties, we re-evaluate the effectiveness of accommodative strategies and also test whether they work contingent on specific conditions, e.g. the newness of radical right challengers or the existence of a cordon sanitaire. We do not find any evidence that accommodative strategies reduce radical right success. If anything, they lead to more voters defecting to the radical right. Our findings have important implications for the study of multi-party competition as they challenge what has become a core assumption of this literature: that accommodative strategies reduce niche party support.