Issues, Discontent, and Third-Party Voting: The Case of the Netherlands


Belanger, Eric and Aarts, Kees (2004) Issues, Discontent, and Third-Party Voting: The Case of the Netherlands. In: annual work conference of the Netherlands Institute of Government, October 29, 2004, Rotterdam.

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Abstract:Scholarly accounts of the dramatic breakthrough of the List Pim Fortuyn (LPF) in the 2002
Dutch parliamentary election have mostly emphasized two factors behind the success of
that party. It has first been argued that the LPF brought a distinct issue profile to the
electoral arena, which made it attractive for voters holding similar policy views. The
second hypothesis, that feelings of political discontent also fuelled support for the LPF,
remains highly contested because of the possible endogeneity bias of cynicism attitudes.
We re-examine this question using survey data from the 1998-2002 panel of the Dutch
National Election Study. Our approach’s novelty is to estimate 2002’s vote choice using
indicators of individuals’ issue priorities and cynical attitudes as measured in the 1998
wave of the panel. The findings suggest that policy preferences and attitudes of discontent
both contributed to the LPF vote, thus providing support for both interpretations of the rise
of this party. These results are consistent with most existing work on “third” or minor party
voting showing that lack of confidence toward government and politics is fertile ground for
these party movements.
Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS)
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