Varieties of Radicalism. Examining the Diversity of Radical Left Parties and Voters in Western Europe

2015-06-24T11:12:55Z (GMT) by R. Gomez Laura Morales Luis Ramiro
Radical left parties (RLPs) are a diverse lot and several RLP subtypes have been distinguished in the literature. However, the degree to which these subtypes are associated to significantly different policy proposals has not been analysed. At the same time, little is known about whether these predicated subtypes are associated to differences in their voters’ characteristics. In this article, we analyse the policy positions of RLPs across a number of issues using manifesto and expert survey data, allowing us to assess the nature of the differentiation between types of RLPs. We find that RLPs differ in the extent to which they adopt New Politics issues, and we propose a classification of Traditional and New Left RLPs. Using cross-national survey data coming from the European Election Studies series and multilevel multinomial models, we also examine the ideological, policy and social differences in the electorates of the various types of RLPs. We find socio-demographic and attitudinal differences between the voters of Traditional and New Left RLPs that are consistent with the programmatic differences of the parties.