Comparative European Politics

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 263–286 | Cite as

Explaining the gender gap in radical right voting: A cross-national investigation in 12 Western European countries

  • Tim Immerzeel
  • Hilde Coffé
  • Tanja van der Lippe
Original Article


It is common wisdom in radical right research that men are over-represented among the radical right electorate. We explore whether a radical right gender gap exists across 12 Western European countries and examine how this gap may be explained. Using the European Values Study (2010), we find a radical right gender gap that remains substantial after controlling for socioeconomic and political characteristics. However, our results indicate strong cross-national variation in the size of the gap. Explanations for these differences are explored by looking at the outsider image and the populist discourse style of the radical right parties, which are hypothesised to keep women from voting for the radical right. Our results do not confirm this expectation: differences in party characteristics do not account for cross-national differences in the gender gap. Implications of these findings and suggestions for further research are discussed.


radical right gender cross-national party characteristics 



The research presented in this article is part of the project ‘Mobilizing “the People”? Populist Radical Right Parties and The Active Citizen’, funded by the NWO Graduate Training Program Grant (2008/2009) awarded to the research school Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS).


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim Immerzeel
    • 1
  • Hilde Coffé
    • 2
  • Tanja van der Lippe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology/ICSUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.School of History, Political Science & International RelationsWellingtonNew Zealand

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