One of the most important implications of the economic crisis in Europe is the withering away of mainstream parties. This is particularly evident in Southern Europe, where the current crisis challenges the stability of party systems that have lasted for decades. This article aims at exploring an aspect of economic voting that has not been investigated in depth: the impact of the perceived degradation of an individual’s standard of living on the propensity to cast a vote for radical parties, using the case of the 2014 European election in Greece and Italy. The results show that this impact greatly varies across political systems. In the case of Italy, the degradation of the standard of living has not led Italian voters to be more prone to endorse far-left or far-right alternatives, as SEL and the Northern League have not switched their traditional ideological focus after the economic crisis unraveled. On the contrary, in Greece, both SYRIZA and Golden Dawn have managed to attract the voters who lost the most during the crisis, either through anti-austerity rhetoric or by blaming immigrants for the economic downturn.
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