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Voters' Perceptions of Policy Convergence and the Short-term Opportunites of Anti-immigrant parties: Examples from Sweden
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0664-5729
2014 (English)In: Scandinavian Political Studies, ISSN 0080-6757, E-ISSN 1467-9477, Vol. 37, no 3, p. 239-262Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In contrast to previous studies on the political opportunity structures of anti-immigrant parties, this article argues that voters’ perceptions of policy convergence between mainstream alternatives affect their short-term propensity of supporting such partisan challengers. Drawing on leading research in the field, two hypotheses about voters’ perceptions of policy convergence, in two policy areas (economic-redistribution and immigration), are presented. The main findings in the article suggest that policy convergence between mainstream parties has a more immediate impact on the electorate than commonly recognised. Building on unique data from Sweden, the article shows that perceived convergence between Swedish mainstream parties in the field of immigration policy increases potential support for the anti-immigrant party, the Sweden Democrats (SD). Yet the results are the opposite when it comes to perceptions of convergence in the field of economic-distributive policies. In contrast to widespread assumptions, the article thus finds that policy convergence between mainstream parties only appears to create short-term opportunities for anti-immigrant parties if it takes place on their own policy turf. These results indicate, in other words, that the potential electorate of the SD – which is a wider group than hard-core xenophobes – is largely driven by preferences about immigration policy, rather than the short-term urge to protest against mainstream parties. The article, therefore, concludes that the cordon sanitaire to isolate the SD in Sweden – which is underpinned by de facto convergence between mainstream parties on immigration policy – could improve, an is unlikely to curb, the short-term electoral opportunities of this party. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 37, no 3, p. 239-262
Keyword [en]
Anti-immigrant parties, policy convergence, Sweden, Sweden Democrats
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Social Sciences, Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-33911DOI: 10.1111/1467-9477.12025ISI: 000340412000002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84904972652OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-33911DiVA, id: diva2:712661
Projects
Partistyre i förändring – förändrade villkor för riksdagens partigrupper.
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, RJ dnr. RRD10-1373:1
Available from: 2014-04-16 Created: 2014-04-16 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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Loxbo, Karl

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Citation style
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