The Status Stratification of Radical Right Support: Reconsidering the Occupational Profile of UKIP's Electorate

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Drawing on Weber's conceptualisation of class and status as distinct principles of social order, this article argues that support for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is better understood as a status-based phenomenon than a class-based one. Operationalising status as a function of social distance between occupational groups, we show that whilst class was a poor predictor of UKIP support in 2015, status scores were strongly and negatively correlated to the likelihood of supporting UKIP. The opposite is true for the Conservatives
and the Labour Party's electorates, which were still much more strongly aligned on class lines. The effect of status on UKIP preference remains strong after controlling for educational qualifications, suggesting that the status scale taps into a deeper divide than simply an educational cleavage. Moreover, we find that status plays a similar role in predicting the likelihood of voting for right-wing populist parties (RPPs) in other Western European countries as well.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number102214
JournalElectoral Studies
Early online date7 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

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