Populist Radical Right Voters in Contemporary Democracies in Western Europe: Operationalizing and Testing the Three-Dimensional Political Space hypotheses
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This thesis operationalizes and tests a new theoretical framework of how to map populist radical right voters in the political space. While such research has been dominated by two-dimensional frameworks, the framework of this thesis is three-dimensional as proposed by Kitschelt in recent work. To be able to operationalize the new three-dimensional framework the thesis is based on thorough review of both the dominant two-dimensional and the newer theories regarding political dimensions and the populist radical right. The theories were then applied to find the best suiting variables from the European Social Survey 2012 to represent the values constituting the three-dimensional political space. The re-theorized framework has never before been empirically tested. The evidence presented in this thesis suggest that the voting patterns of the populist radical right voters are different on these three dimensions. This supports Kitschelt's argument in that we ought to consider the political space as three-dimensional. By using three dimensions this thesis was able to capture important variation in how populist radical right voters can be placed in the political space. This thesis has discovered the presence of an important issue that does not fit into the threedimensional political framework. The gay rights-issue represents values that are different from the ones constituting the three dimension. Neither Kitschelt nor I could have expected these results.