Explaining the Rise of the LPF: Issues, Discontent, and the 2002 Dutch Election
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- Bélanger, E. & Aarts, K. Acta Polit (2006) 41: 4. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ap.5500135
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Scholarly accounts of the dramatic breakthrough of the List Pim Fortuyn (LPF) in the 2002 Dutch parliamentary election have emphasized two structural factors behind the success of that party. It has first been argued that the LPF brought a distinct issue profile to the electoral arena, which made it attractive for voters with similar policy views. The second hypothesis, that feelings of discontent with politics also fuelled support for the LPF, remains contested because of the possible endogeneity bias of cynicism attitudes. We re-examine these questions using survey data from the 1998 to 2002 panel of the Dutch Parliamentary Election Study. Our approach's novelty is to link respondents' 2002 vote choice to their issue priorities and cynical attitudes as measured in the 1998 wave of the panel. The findings suggest that policy preferences and, to a lesser extent, attitudes of political discontent both contributed to the LPF vote, thus providing support for both interpretations of the rise of this party. These results are consistent with most existing works on non-established party voting which show that new salient political issues and a lack of confidence towards government and politics are fertile ground for these party movements.