The rising tide: Local structural determinants of the radical right-wing vote in Switzerland

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Series Details Vol.16, No.4, July 2018, p602–619
Publication Date July 2018
ISSN 1472-4790 (print) 1740-388X (online)
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The Swiss Peoples’ Party (SVP), as the strongest radical right-wing party in Western Europe, has garnered close to 29% of the vote in 2007 and nearly 27% in 2011. Interested in the immense local differences in SVP support, which range from 0 to over 90% of the popular vote in municipalities, this article aims to analyze the local structural and political determinants of the radical right’s success in Switzerland.

Examining the impact of the moderate right-wing vote share, the number of foreigners per municipality, unemployment, population density, the percentage of citizens without post-secondary education and age for 2,453 of the existing Swiss 2,559 villages and cities, I find distinct SVP support patterns. For and utmost, the cross-sectional OLS regression, featuring 2007 data, indicates that support for the radical right is highest in areas where the moderate right performs poorly.

In addition, the regression analysis illustrates that the SVP does well in small villages with few foreigners and low unemployment. Finally, I discover that a high number of senior citizens and high education levels in the respective municipality harm the performance of the Swiss radical right.

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