Perceived technological threat and vote choice: evidence from 15 European democracies

Sophie Borwein, Bart Bonikowski, Peter John Loewen, Blake Lee-Whiting, Beatrice Magistro

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The political consequences of workplace technological adoption have become a focus of recent party politics research. This article contributes to this literature by directly examining how the perceived threat of technological change relates to support for populist and non-populist left and right parties. It does so in two ways: first, by examining subjective rather than objective automation exposure, and second by distinguishing between personal and collective threat perceptions. Using vote choice data from 15 European countries, this article shows that subjective perception of personal automation exposure relates to increased support for left parties and decreased support for populist-right parties, while concern over collective risk relates to increased support for the populist right. These patterns suggest that fear of workplace technological change elicits both material and status concerns. The article concludes with counterfactual analyses demonstrating that both non-populist and populist left-wing parties could benefit by mobilizing voters who feel personally threatened by automation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalWest European Politics
    StateAccepted/In press - 2023


    • automation and artificial intelligence (AI)
    • populist and radical right voting
    • Technological change

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Political Science and International Relations


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