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Whom will Conspiracists Vote for and Why?

Populism
Voting
Political Sociology
Peter Achterberg
Tilburg University
Peter Achterberg
Tilburg University
Willem De Koster
Department of Public Administration, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Jeroen van der Waal
Erasmus University Rotterdam, Department of Sociology

Abstract

Scholarly attention for conspiracism as a form of public opinion is rising. This paper investigates the electoral consequences of conspiricism in two countries – the US (a two-party system) and the Netherlands (a multiparty system). Based on comparable and representative survey data gathered in 2014 for the US and in 2012 for the Netherlands, in this paper, we find distinct political preferences of conspiracists: In both countries they show higher degrees in non-voting. In the US they show a tendency to vote republican, and in the Netherlands they tend to vote for either New Right parties or Old leftist parties more often. We investigate which of these three factors underlie these electoral preferences: A) an anomic quest for more order, B) an egalitarian anti-elitism and C) anti-institutionalism. At the end of our paper, we compare our findings for both countries, and elaborate on the theoretical relevance of these findings.