Economic conditions and populist radical right voting: The role of issue salience

Take Sipma, Carl C. Berning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


In this article, we show with the European Election Study from nine Western European countries that issue salience of the economy and immigration contributes to our understanding of the puzzling relation between economic conditions and populist radical right support. In countries with relatively weak or worsening economic conditions, the economy is considered more salient, whereas immigration loses salience – also compared to other issues. Voters who perceive the economy as most important problem are less likely to opt for the populist radical right than people who perceive immigration or even other issues as most important. Populist radical right parties appear to not only win votes on the immigration issue, they also lose votes on the economic issue. Finally, in contrast to actual economic conditions, negative perceptions of the economy increases populist radical right voting, despite stronger salience of the economy and partly due to stronger salience of immigration compared to other issues.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102416
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalElectoral Studies
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Populist radical right
  • Economic recession
  • Immigration
  • Issue salience
  • Voting behaviour


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