Aversion to far-left parties among Europeans voting abroad

Abstract

Recent increases in emigration and overseas voting have heightened the importance of understanding what characteristics predispose diaspora voters to support parties other than those most popular with domestic voters. We hypothesize such a divergence regarding far-left parties and test the issue positions and ideological traits that may inform it. Large-N analyses of an original cross-national dataset of European legislative election returns show that, as hypothesized, members of the far-left party family systematically receive smaller shares of the emigrant vote than of the domestic vote in both Eastern and Western European states’ elections. Still, the domestic–diaspora electoral rift is more accentuated in the East, where overseas voters are much less likely to support far-left parties than their Western European counterparts. Hostilities between ruling Communist parties and expatriate groups as well as different attitudes toward globalization and individualism may also explain this rift.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    March (2017) addresses the wide range of terms used to refer to the ideology of the various European parties under discussion here, noting that the literature uses several terms interchangeably. This manuscript applies ‘far left’, ‘extreme left’, or ‘radical left’ generically to members of the relevant party family.

  2. 2.

    Communist celebration of international working-class unity frequently faltered in practice, as with Soviet campaigns against ‘rootlessness’ and ‘cosmopolitanism’ (Grüner 2010).

  3. 3.

    A similar logic might suggest that older parties have had more time to build outreach networks extending overseas; they then might be likelier to draw on overseas support. A countervailing theory would suggest that migrants’ personalities, typically more open to trying new things (as demonstrated by their emigration), would be likelier to embrace a new, fresh party. Controlling for party age in years, or logarithm thereof, produces similar effects to those reported. Party age itself never has substantively or statistically significant effect.

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Turcu, A., Urbatsch, R. Aversion to far-left parties among Europeans voting abroad. Comp Eur Polit 19, 117–138 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41295-020-00225-2

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Keywords

  • Far-left parties
  • Emigrants
  • Voting
  • Elections
  • Eastern Europe
  • Western Europe