Want to see a cool interactive version of the map of European radical right voting patterns after the 2008 financial crisis? That’s what I thought.
This is an updated version of the maps I posted the other day. The map is divided into 229 regions at the NUTS1 Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics 1 or 2 level, defined by the EU. If you hover over or click on a region, you can view data about the election, regional unemployment, economic growth, national immigration favorability and party local presence.
In case you are curious, the latter value measures the percentage of local elections in which the radical right party competed as a proxy for local organizational strength. The idea is that if the party can field candidates in local elections, they must have some organizational capability on the ground in order to get on a ballot. The more local elections competed, the denser the party’s organizational footprint within a region.2 Yeah, yeah, I get that it’s not a great measure, but data on radical right parties’ local organizations and memberships are not publicly available or are, let’s say, not particularly reliable.
In any event, this my first-cut at presenting this type of data in an interactive form, so please let me know what you think. If there is other information you’d like to see, I’ll try to put it on there (assuming I can readily access the data).3 I didn’t include regional migration or population data in my original paper, but am thinking about adding it here and re-running the analysis. I’m also considering whether to add more of the EU or to expand the temporal aspect of the analysis (time permitting, of course)
You can see that there is no clear pattern of higher unemployment or poor economic growth and increased vote shares. As I mentioned in the previous post, most research on the European radical right concludes that economic factors alone do not lead to greater success at the ballot box. Rather, anti-immigration, nativist and populist sentiments are the largest driver of individual patterns of radical right voting across Europe.
In my next post, I’ll discuss some of the reasons why economics plays a secondary role to xenophobia and populism in driving voters to radical right parties. I’ll also discuss why party organization matters – a more difficult argument to make simply by reference to the map above.
This post was updated on 1/18/2018 with new map layers and interface.