chapter  5
22 Pages

The Lack of Partisan Conflict over the Welfare State in Spain

The effect of immigration preferences on electoral outcomes in Spain is understudied. This chapter shows that, even in the absence of a radical right party, immigration preferences can be associated with mainstream voting when they are incorporated into established axes of political conflict. The analyses show that the electoral strength of immigration preferences is connected with the strength of the centre periphery cleavage in Spain. More specifically, immigration preferences are a stronger determinant of the vote for parties with relatively more pro-decentralisation stances, among individuals with more coherent immigration and decentralisation attitudes, and in regions where the centreperiphery cleavage is stronger. Spain provides a rich context to analyse the electoral effect of immigration which is conditional on the preferences and the strength of the centreperiphery conflict. The expectation that the electoral effect of immigration proximity depends on the centreperiphery cleavage will be first tested through the interaction between immigration proximity and party decentralisation positions.