Comparing forecast models of Radical Right voting in four European countries (1973-2008)
Radical Right Parties (RRPs) have traditionally been seen as 'hard cases' to forecast, with unstable voter bases affected by short-term influences. Building upon our previous work on forecasting the French Front National's vote across time, we construct a comparable model for three other European countries-Austria, Denmark and Norway-with significant RRPs, using economic, cultural and political predictors. We find that the model performs surprisingly well, with the partial exception of Norway, and provides an accurate forecast of RRP electoral performance which improves upon naive endogenous models and, significantly, upon polling estimates. Moreover, the model is firmly rooted in existing explanations of RRP success, allowing a robust explanation not only of variation in these parties' votes, but also of less successful estimates in a small number of country-specific contexts. Overall, we find that standard approaches to electoral forecasting in fact offer a useful tool in the analysis of RRPs.
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