Electoral Chair’s Seminar – 14 February

Regional Divides and Electoral Dynamics in Western Democracies

Valentin Pautonnier-Université de Montréal

The literature is increasingly focusing on the regional disparities within Western democracies, which appear to be growing and exerting more influence on individual voting patterns. The notable rise of populist parties in Europe at the local level often serves as a prime example of this trend. Conversely, literature on “nationalization” suggests that parties are not inclined to maintain highly unequal distributions over the long run.

By employing equality and concentration indices across France, Denmark, Germany, and the UK, my analysis reveals that voting patterns have become less evenly distributed compared to two decades ago. Third parties emerge as the primary factor behind this trend, although their distribution may not necessarily become more unequal over time. Furthermore, models indicate that an unequal distribution of support ultimately undermines parties’ long-term prospects for success. These conclusions shed light on why populist parties try to normalize and expand their geographical support. They underscore the significance of equal distribution of electoral support for the long-term viability of political parties.

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This content has been updated on 7 February 2024 at 21 h 23 min.