In this article we address the question whether or not the votes for anti-immigrant parties can be considered as protest votes. We define protest votes by the motives underlying electoral choices, building on earlier research done by Tillie (1995) and Van der Eijk & Franklin (1996). That research showed that ideological proximity and party size are the best predictors of party preference. On this basis we designed a typology of motives for party choice and how these motives would manifest themselves empirically. Analyzing the 1994 elections for the European Parliament for seven political systems we show that anti-immigrant parties attract no more protest votes than other parties do, with only one exception: the Dutch Centrumdemocraten.
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