Open Access

(When) Do Critical Life Events Push People to the Populist Radical Right? Support for the Swiss People’s Party Following Relationship Dissolution, Unemployment or a Health Crisis


Using the Swiss Household Panel, we examine whether experiencing relationship dissolution, unemployment, or a health crisis increases support for the Swiss People’s Party (SVP). Fixed effects models shows this to be the case. Changes in financial resources, attitudes or trust in the government cannot explain this effect. Finally, we test whether increased support for the SVP following these events is more likely among individuals with lower trust and income levels and with views similar of those of the SVP. We find that individuals with traditional gender values are more likely to support the SVP after separation.