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Immigration into the mainstream: Conflicting ideological streams, strategic reasoning and party competition

Abstract

Although immigration is one of the key issues of contestation in Western Europe, the extent to which it plays a part in electoral competition in individual states varies considerably, especially when it comes to the use made of the issue by parties generally considered mainstream rather than extreme. We suggest some explanations for this variation and for why the immigration ‘issue’ is rarely a top election priority even though the political mainstream has continuously been prompted to make it one. Immigration imposes conflicting ideological ‘pulls’ on parties and they pursue a number of ownership strategies to bypass such tensions.

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Acknowledgements

Research support under the Economic and Social Research Council’s First Grant Scheme (RES-061-25–0195) is gratefully acknowledged. The guest editors would also like to thank the article referees, and the anonymous reviewer of the special issue for additional comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Pontus Odmalm.

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Odmalm, P., Bale, T. Immigration into the mainstream: Conflicting ideological streams, strategic reasoning and party competition. Acta Polit 50, 365–378 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1057/ap.2014.28

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Keywords

  • immigration
  • party competition
  • ideology
  • mainstream parties
  • populist radical right