Rising support for populist right-wing parties has become a key story of recent decades. It has mainly been making headlines in Western democracies but is also becoming increasingly prevalent in Central and Eastern Europe. Despite there being strong evidence that campaigns influence electoral performance, and a large body of literature profiling the voters of populist right-wing parties, we still know little about the comparative relevance of parties’ campaign efforts and voters’ personal characteristics for supporting such parties. Merging data from the 2015 Estonian Candidate Study and the 2015 Estonian National Election Study, this article explains electoral support for the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia. It finds that both individual-level and party-level factors influence voters’ likelihood of casting their ballot for the populist right-wing party. Support for the party is higher in constituencies where it carries out more intense campaigns, and amongst voters who hold anti-establishment sentiments and are socially conservative. In contrast to populist right-wing parties in the West, however, anti-immigration feelings and Euroscepticism do not drive support for it. These findings show that support for populist right-wing parties is shaped by their campaign effort and their ability to tap into the ‘right’ kind of disillusionment.
Trumm, S. (2018). The ‘new’ wave of populist right-wing parties in Central and Eastern Europe: explaining electoral support for the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia. Representation, 54(4), 331-347. https://doi.org/10.1080/00344893.2018.1539028