Two of a kind? Voting motivations for populist radical right and religious fundamentalist parties

Sivan Hirsch-Hoefler, Daphna Canetti, Ami Pedahzur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the last two decades a number of theoretical perspectives have emphasized the growing phenomenon of extremist political challenges. These challenges come from two main sources: largely secular radical right-wing populism and religious fundamentalism. Yet the relationship between the two is still theoretically and empirically limited. Researchers have usually limited their discussion to only one of the phenomena, ignoring the fact that despite the basic distinction between the two (i.e., secular versus religious orientation), the literature points to many commonalities. This article takes up the challenge by analyzing the predictive power of socioeconomic, ideological, and security threat factors on voting behavior for populist radical right (PRR) parties and for religious fundamentalist (RF) parties. Data collected following the Israeli parliamentary election of 2003 (N = 808) offer a challenge to the conventional, secular wisdom of right-wing extremism. The radical right party family is multifaceted with at least two flanks - a hawkish nationalist flank on the one hand, and a 'faith-based' radical flank on the other. Implications of these distinctions for voting behavior scholars and radical right-wing scholars are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)678-690
Number of pages13
JournalElectoral Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was made possible, in part, by the support of the National Security Studies Center, Haifa University, Israel. For helpful suggestions and valuable comments on earlier drafts of the article, we thank Cas Mudde, Sarah de-Lange, Eran Halperin and the anonymous reviewers. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Sivan Hirsch-Hoefler at the School of Political Sciences, University of Haifa, Israel.


  • Populist radical right
  • Religious fundamentalism
  • Voting behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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