1 Department of Political Science, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 University of Geneva3 Department of Political Science, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
This paper focuses on the structural determinants of working class vote for new right and old right parties. We argue that the size of the company does matter in explaining the support of workers for these parties. In small-sized companies, there is greater proximity with the management than in larger ones. This makes the development of common economic interests among the workers more difficult, and therefore undermines the support for social democratic parties. On the contrary, the perception of common interests and shared values with the owners of small businesses - one traditional clientele of old and new right parties - is strengthened. These arguments are tested through a set of multilevel models analysing the determinants of working class vote for new right parties in 16 European countries. Using data from the European Social Survey (2002-2010) and information on company size at the individual level, we find that workers in small companies are more right-wing and, consequently, vote for new and old right parties, whereas workers in larger companies are more likely to vote for social democrats indicating a continuation of the traditional working class milieu. This effect can be explained by union presence and workplace antagonism. This paper points towards new structural explanations of working class support for the right and its cross-national differences and establishes an argument on favourable context conditions for the establishment of new right parties. Moreover, it improves our understanding of the competition between new right, bourgeois and social democratic parties inside the working class.