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The Latent Support for the Extreme Right in British Politics

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This article argues that the extreme right in Britain has a higher level of latent support than would be indicated by its polling performance. After reviewing the likely salience of demand, supply and opportunity structures as factors that could explain the level of support of the extreme right in British politics, the article analyses survey evidence and voting data on the British National Party (BNP) from 2004 to 2007. The article presents results from surveys of the liking for and propensity to vote for the major and minor parties, and explores the patterns of preferences in the London elections. It argues that supporters of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) provide another source of latent support due to linkages perceived by the electorate between the BNP and the UKIP, especially through their perception of the most important policy problem. The article argues that the BNP has entered the mainstream of British politics and suggests that the potential support for the extreme right in Britain is more solid than many comparative studies indicate.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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