Event Date: 15 – 17 May 2019
Richmond University – The American University in London
Richmond TW10 6JP
A Century of Radical Right Extremism: New Approaches
Katherine Parsons (American University) – Ideology and Support for Political Violence
This paper explores whether ideology predicts support for political violence using data from the 2016 ANES (American National Election Survey) dataset. The study serves as a test of the political horseshoe theory, which posits that those on the two most extreme ends of the political spectrum share more ideologically than those closer to the center. Secondary data analysis using OLS regression provides surprising initial findings. Rather than those on the far-right and far-left, the data reveal that those who identify as moderates and those who identify as very liberal (but not extremely liberal) show the highest levels of support for politically motivated violence. In addition, those who indicate trait aggression are also found to have greater support for politically motivated violence. Nationalist views and authoritarian views are also poor predictors of support for political violence. In addition, those who identify as the most conservative on the political spectrum indicate the lowest levels of support for political violence. Other ideological indicators such as nationalism views and support for authoritarianism are also poor predictors of support. However, trait aggression is found to be a strong predictor. These findings suggest that ideology is a poor predictor of support for political violence and poses questions regarding the intricacies of these relationships.