New Hampshire gave new life to many nagging doubts about polling and criticisms of its role in American politics. Are polls really accurate? Can surveys of small groups of people give a true reading of what a much larger group thinks? What about bias? Donít pollsters stack the ≠deck?
I’ve also delicious’ed this, but Scott Keeter’s reflexions on the role of polls in contemporary (U.S.) politics is worth reading and considering.
Compared to the U.S. participation in voting is less unequal socially and the resources available to political actors not as large so not all of the arguments may apply in the same way in this part of the world. Still, much as I’m sceptical of media’s use of polls (basically, poll results always have to be compared with something and interpreted. Numbers rarely say as much as media editors wants us to believe), I’m fairly indifferent with regard to much of the criticism against polls in electoral campaigns.
By using data from the first round of the European Social Survey (2003) involving six West European countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Norway), this article differentiates between immigration scepticism and xenophobic attitudes. The analyses strongly indicate that xenophobic attitudes are a far less significant factor than immigration scepticism for predicting who will vote for the new radical right. Moreover, this article analyses the extent to which anti-immigration frames employed by radical right-wing parties resonate with attitudes held by supporting voters, and to what extent they make a difference for people’s decision to vote for the radical right. The analyses indicate that frames linking immigration to criminality and social unrest are particularly effective for mobilising voter support for the radical right. Finally, the article criticises earlier research that explained radical right-wing voting with reference to ethnic competition theory. In contrast to much of the earlier research that used macro-level measures and comparisons, this study uses (self-reported) individual-level data on the degree of ethnic heterogeneity of people’s area of residence. Hypotheses derived from ethnic competition theory receive less support than expected, which indicates that earlier research may have overestimated the significance of these factors.
One note could be that Rydgren only looks at one factor (immigration) in this article. The next problem is how to integrate the “welfare nationalism” in parties like the Danish People’s Party. Should we see welfare policy as a separate cause for right-wing support or is welfare policy a second-order dimension? (Okay – I’m sure a couple of electoral researchers digging into existing data sets could answer this one pretty quickly).
HT: Niclas Berggren.
- Jens Rydgren (2008) Immigration sceptics, xenophobes or racists? Radical right-wing voting in six West European countries. European Journal of Political Research, 47:6, 737-765 [↩]
After losing half of the voters and a couple of MPs1, the Danish press closes in on Margrethe Vestager. According to Berlingske Tidende, the party is headed for a melt-down and Ms. Vestager also gets the works in the columns of Berlingske.
Considering Berlingske Tidende’s impressive ability to catch the political themes of the day, the Social Liberals might want to be concerned.
Politiken adds to the barrage.
Update: The party organisation wants some answers.
- Conveniently, we forget that the Social Liberals also gained JÝrgen Poulsen from the wreckage of
NyLiberal Alliance. [↩]