Perceptions, Resentment, Economic Distress, and Support for Right-Wing Populist Parties in Europe


Research has demonstrated that resentful emotions toward the politics and perceptions of being culturally and economically threatened by immigration increase support for populist parties in some European countries, and that macro-level economic conditions engender those perceptions and emotions and increase populist support. This article reveals that household-level economic conditions also affect perceptions of cultural and economic threat by immigrants. Low- and middle-income populations are more vulnerable to suffer economic distress due to macro-level factors such as import shock, which can increase their resentment toward democracy, and their perceptions that immigration is a cultural and economic threat, therefore increasing the likelihood to vote for populist parties. A mediation analysis using the European Social Survey data from 2002 to 2018 provides evidence for the argument.

Politics and Governance