In most comparative accounts of radical right parties, the Norwegian Progress Party (FrP) is perceived of as one of the first representatives of this party family to appear in the european context. In Norway, an alternative view seems to have found support in semi-academic accounts, the media and the political parties, perceiving the Progress Party as Norway’s new labour party.
The aim of this study is, through comprehensive analysis of the voters and their characteristics, to find an answer to the overarching question Has the Progress Party become Norway’s new labour party? The analysis pitches Progress Party voters against the Norwegian Labour Party voters to seek answers to this question.The comparative litterature is everpresent in the background, used as a tool to decide whether the Progress Party is better described and understood as a representative of the radical right party family.
The Progress Party can be understood as Norway’s new labour party if only class-voting patterns are taken into account. However, my analysis reveals that social structure and voter background only provides a very limited explanation for voting behaviour. None of the two parties can be described as traditional class parties. The sociostructural composition of the two parties voters’ appear to be closer to that of catch all-parties. Values and attitudes turn out to be the main defining characteristics for explaing the voters’ preferences for both the Labour Party and the Progress Party. The study reveals significant differences between Labour Party and Progress Party voters’ values, making it challenging to defend the popular myth of the FrP as a labour Party. Analyzed with theory from the radical right litterature, the Progress Party voters show certain characteristics also found amongst radical right party voters in other countries. However, my analysis allows for a more nuanced description of the voters, showing that the party can be described as a hybrid, more specifically a populist variant of a radical right party, with voters expressing welfare chauvinism, low political trust and protest attitudes.