Residential Context and Voting for the Far Right: The Impact of Immigration and Unemployment on the 2017 French Presidential Election
ASSUMPTION, HARDSHIP, Far Right, Immigration, 2017 French ELECTION
The assumption that increasing diversity and economic hardship boost support for the far right is widespread, yet extant research comes up with contradictory findings. This article investigates the link between context and the far right by investigating the impact of immigration and unemployment on voting for Marine Le Pen in the first round of the 2017 French Presidential election. We match a large individual-level survey with contextual variables constructed from the census describing voters’ residential environments. Unlike previous studies, we measure immigration and unemployment at the neighborhood level and the broader level of the department. Using a multilevel model, we find that voters in neighborhoods with high levels of immigration are less likely to vote for the far right. However, in departments, increased immigration and unemployment correlate with greater support for Le Pen. These findings suggest that contact theory and ethnic threat operate differently according to spatial scale.