Social Marginalization, Ethnic Threat, and Radical Right-wing Support in Sweden: A Multilevel Analysis
With the aim of studying the role of contextual factors for explaining within-country variation in the vote share of the radical right-wing party, the Sweden Democrats, in the 2014 Swedish election, we specify and test hypotheses pertaining to social marginality and ethnic threat. An important finding is that change (increase) is more important than the actual proportion of non-European immigrants for explaining the electoral support of the Sweden Democrats. Moreover, our results indicate that the increase in non-European born residents is positively associated with the vote share of the Sweden Democrats primarily in districts where the proportion of non-European-born residents was already high. This finding contradicts the defended neighborhood hypothesis, as well as the findings of Rink et al. (2009). This suggested tipping-point effect runs counter to the contact hypothesis, while being more in line with ethnic threat and group position theories. Also, our results suggest that a higher level of aggregation, such as at the municipal or region labor market level, is sometimes more relevant when measuring contextual explanations than the more fine-grained level of voting districts. The social marginalization hypothesis receives mixed support.