Abstract: In recent years several contributions have made the argument that right-wing populist voting is interrelated with individuals being negatively affected by globalization. While there is certainly merit to this argument, it cannot explain why voters unconcerned by globalisation vote for right-wing populist parties. In this article we answer this question and argue that ontological insecurity or, the way we frame it, existential anxieties are a previously overlooked determinant of right-wing populist voting, as these anxieties make people vulnerable to right-wing populist crises narratives even when they are not affected by the crises. Using European Social Survey data for 11 Western European countries between 2004 and 2018, we construct a novel index that measures existential anxieties on the individual level. Our index shows (1) that existential anxieties increase the likelihood of right-wing populist voting and (2) that the fear fueling narratives of these parties especially mobilize individuals with moderate globalization attitudes.

(Together with Michael Bayerlein)

Anne Metten, doc. cand.

Kiel University, Comparative Politics

Existential Anxieties and Right-Wing Populism in Europe – Why People Unconcerned by Globalization Vote Against It

Future of Politics, Work and Society/ Digitalization

Research and projects in this cluster are focused on the labor market and job prospects, communication and free speech, data protection, etc., in an environment of automation and digitalization.