The Great Recession that hit Europe since 2008 sparked the interest of many scholars in understanding its impact on voting behaviour. Some studies have argued that the economic crisis paved the way for a new resurgence of challenger parties, whereas others have argued that their success is driven by the crisis of political representation. However, the analysis of the interplay between these two competing arguments is still scarce. In this paper, I build upon the protest and economic voting theories to explain the success of challenger parties in the aftermath of the Great Recession. By performing a multilevel analysis with time-series cross-sectional data, I found that political distrust and the economy have had an impact on the voting for challenger parties, and the interaction between the two dimensions explains the further increase in their electoral success.
1 The first wave has been excluded because of the lack of the variable ‘trust in political parties’.
2 Respondents that have been asked about their voting behaviour for the same election in the country have been grouped together in the same level-2 unit, even if they have been interviewed in different waves. Further information may be found in Table A4.