Women may be Europe's far right best defense

According to a paper published in 200 by Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris, two political scientists women may be the lefter sex. European far right parties haven't been so popular among the ladies.

If it wasn't for female voters, Norbert Hofer, the far right candidate would've won Austria's presidential election on May 22. According to exit polls 60% of men supported him, whereas female voters, by a similar margin supported Green Party candidate and newly elected president Alexander Van der Bellen.

Mr. Van der Bellen won by 50.3% to 49.7% in the second round run-off.

But this trend has been present since the 1980's and 1990's. Before women were seen as bastions of conservatism, particularly supporting Christian Democrats and Catholic parties. They are slightly more likely to be religious than men, for example in 1968, the Christian Democrats  won with more than 50% of the female vote in Italy.

In other six European countries, Birtain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and West Germany, female voters remain with the conservative parties.

According to Inglehart and Norris paper, in Austria, Ireland, Switzerland and most of the Scandinavian countries, female vote lean to the left. This may be the result of a decline in religious belief and the integration of women in the workforce.

With the rise of feminist issues like abortion and low paid jobs, women are more concerned about social equality and the environment.

In recent years, European women haven't turned all the way to the left, but drifted to the center. According to the Mattia Forni of Ipsos Mori polling group, female voters tend to vote to reassuring politicians.

In Germany's last general elections, 35% of female voters supported the center-right Christian Democrat party, whereas male support was 31% Also, only 12% of women supported the AfD party.

In France the story is different. With Marine Le Pen leading the Front National, she has cultivated a mainstream image. In 2012, she scored highly among women 17% as among men 17%.

Women's age makes their votes differ as well. In Austria, women under 29 favored Mr. Van der Bellen by more than 30 percentage points, while women over 60 preferred him by only 10 points.

In the 2015 British elections something similar happened. The Labour party was supported by women between 18-24 age range over the Conservatives by 44% to 24%. Instead women aged 55+ backed the Conservatives over Labour 45% to 27%.

In the US women are also more likely to lean to the left. In 2012 elections, Obama had a 12 point margin among female voters. This year, 60% of women see Donald Trump unfavorably and only 48% feel that way about Hilary Clinton.

Inglehart and Norris expect women's lean to left political views to increase as conservative older voters die and are replaced by more progressive ones. But this may change as people become older and are likely to become more conservative.

For now, women are Europe's best chance to fight against the rise of the far right.

Prepared by

We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…