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With status decline in sight, voters turn radical right: how do experience and expectation of status decline shape electoral behaviour?

Zhen Jie Im, Hanna Wass, Anu Kantola and Timo M. Kauppinen


We distinguish between the experience and expectation of subjective status decline in relation to electoral behaviour. Studies often link support for radical parties, especially radical right ones, to voters’ experience of status decline. A few other studies argue that voters’ expectation of status decline also triggers radical right support. Using multivariate analyses, this article finds that voters who expect status decline consistently prefer radical right parties more than voters who expect status improvement. However, there is no robust evidence of radical right support among voters who have experienced status decline. These findings suggest that the expectation, not experience, of status decline drives radical right support. If these expectations trigger radical right support in Nordic welfare states, they may be even more pertinent in less comprehensive welfare states.