Democracy and discontent: institutional trust and evaluations of system performance among core and peripheral far right voters

Sofia Vasilopoulou*, Daphne Halikiopoulou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article contributes to the debate about democratic discontent and far right party support taking into account the heterogeneity of the far right voter pool. Distinguishing between peripheral far right voters driven by discontent, and core far right voters driven by nationalism, we argue that citizens’ evaluations of the democratic process are associated with their electoral behaviour; but this relationship varies depending on their immigration attitudes. Using data from 9 waves of the European Social Survey (2002-2018), we confirm that whereas among the general population positive evaluations of the democratic process may serve as a deterrent for far right party support, the same assessments are unlikely to deter the far right's core ideological voters. In some circumstances, they might have a galvanising effect, prompting a backlash among some core voters. Our findings add nuance to voting behaviour theories, and illustrate why scholars should pay more attention to far right intra-partisan heterogeneity.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Early online date29 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 May 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Author(s)


  • Far Right
  • Voting behaviour
  • immigration
  • Democracy
  • European Social Survey
  • Trust

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