How protest voters choose
Title: How protest voters choose
Citation: Party politics, 2017, OnlineFirst
ISSN: 1354-0688; 1460-3683
Political scientists have identified protest voting – voting for an anti-establishment party as a protest against mainstream politics – as a consequence of dissatisfaction with traditional political options. Yet we know little about what motivates people to cast a protest vote or why voters select one such protest option over another. Taking as its empirical referent the 2015 General Election in Great Britain, this article assesses the ‘protest choice’ in parliamentary democracies. We test three possible theoretical explanations for protest voting: ideology, mistrust of political elites and campaign effects. We find that the most important factors affecting protest choice are issue positions and campaign effects. The findings suggest that protest voting is a complex phenomenon that cannot be reduced to knee-jerk anti-politics reactions.
First Published March 28, 2017
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