Sub-National Context and Radical Right Support in Europe

Electoral support for the radical right, including parties such as the French FN, the German AfD, the Dutch PVV and UKIP in Britain, has long presented a challenge to mainstream politics in many European nations. Previous research has shown that the principal motivation for supporting such parties has historically been anti-immigrant sentiments, and more recently anti-Muslim attitudes. Such factors become important in people's voting decision through local and national context. Comparative research into radical right parties has focused mainly on national-level indicators and individual motivations when explaining variation in support for these parties.

Some research uses local data to look at how support varies in different parts of a country, but to date there is an absence of comparative research which formalises the effect of subnational conditions and context on radical right support. This project brings together an interdisciplinary political science, sociology and geography team to build such an analysis for four key countries (France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK) which provide different institutional, infrastructural, socio-economic and ideological contexts in which to study the phenomenon.

The three-year project will have three main objectives. First, it will collate all available secondary political and socio-economic data from official sources to establish an across-time database at different regional and local levels. Second, it will supplement these data with a standardised public opinion survey across the four countries, to collect an up-to-date set of individual demographic, attitude and behavioural information. Lastly, it will bring these together in a full model of radical right support, to identify the respective role of territorial context and individual factors. The results will provide an unparalleled level of detailed understanding of the determinants of radical right support, which will be of importance both to our academic understanding and to stakeholders' policy planning and implementation in addressing the issues associated with support for these parties.