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Populist Migrants? Explaining Support for Populists Among External Voters

Elections
Migration
Populism
Quantitative
Electoral Behaviour
Mobilisation
Voting Behaviour
Mari-Liis Jakobson
Tallinn University
Mari-Liis Jakobson
Tallinn University
Sebastián Umpierrez de Reguero
European University Institute

Abstract

While migrants’ party preferences are an emergent topic (see e.g. Turcu & Urbatsch 2020a, 2020b, 2020c), there are as of yet no studies on the non-resident citizens' propensity to vote for homeland populist parties. Yet, emigrants and their descendants might be a prone ground for the populist seed, as a notable bulk of emigrants perceive themselves as having been forced to emigrate because of the decisions of the political establishment, and many populist parties campaign intensively among the emigrant communities (Anelli & Peri 2017, Lulle 2018, Szulecki 2020, Jakobson, Umpierrez, Yener-Roderburg 2020). This study will utilize a cross-sectional time-series dataset comprising external voting results in presidential and parliamentary elections from European and Latin American countries, and data of the Global Populism Database (Hawkins et al., 2019) as well as Global Party Survey (Norris, 2020) to indicate the level of populism of the competing forces. The study suggests that while overall support for populists among external voters is not that different from the domestic voters, different voting patterns emerge across emigration destinations with higher support in destinations with more blue-collar workers as well as over time with emigrants voting for populist parties that were challengers during the crises that caused larger emigration waves (thus remaining protest voters over a past crisis). As compared to non-resident citizens, domestic voters’ preferences change more over time. We also evaluate for resocialization effects, i.e. whether support for populist parties is stronger in destination countries where populist parties are more prominent themselves; and analyze, whether there is a preference for more inclusive left-wing populism among external voters over more exclusionary right-wing populism.