Gender equality salience, backlash and radical right voting in the gender-equal context of Sweden

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Cultural backlash research explains voting for populist radical right (PRR) parties mostly by socioeconomic factors and anti-immigration attitudes, neglecting the role of gender values. This study addresses this gap by arguing that gender issue salience triggers backlash against liberalising gender values, resulting in PRR votes by people with conservative gender values. This is tested in the gender-equal context of Sweden by analysing national elections data from 2014 to 2018, comparing voting behaviour before and after a period marked by strong gender issue salience. The study demonstrates that (a) the gap between conservatives’ and liberals’ gender values widens, and (b) conservative gender values predict PRR voting in Sweden in 2018 but not in 2014. These findings suggest that salience of liberalising gender values may trigger backlash, which in turn fuels PRR voting.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)451-476
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

    Research areas

  • cultural backlash, gender values, issue salience, Populist radical right voting, Sweden
  • Politics