Masculinity, sexism and populist radical right support

Hilde Coffe, Marta Fraile, Amy Alexander, Jessica Fortin-Rittberger, Susan Banducci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)


Introduction: The gender gap in populist radical right voting—with women being less likely to support populist radical right parties than men—is well-established. Much less is known about the interplay between gender, masculinity and populist radical right voting. This study investigates the extent to which masculinity affects women and men's likelihood of supporting populist radical right parties. Focusing on sexism as a link between masculinity and populist radical right support, we put forward two mechanisms that operate at once: a mediating effect of sexism (sexism explains the association between masculinity and populist radical right voting) and a moderating effect of sexism (the impact of masculinity is stronger among citizens scoring high on sexism compared with citizens with low levels of sexist attitudes). 

Methods: We draw on an original dataset collected in Spain at the end of 2020 to investigate support for the Spanish populist radical right party VOX. 

Results: We find support for hypothesized mechanisms, mediation and moderation, chiefly among men. First, sexism explains about half of the link between masculinity and populist radical right support for this group, confirming the hypothesized mediation effect. Second, masculinity has a significantly stronger impact on the likelihood of supporting VOX among men scoring high on sexism, which in turn substantiates the presence of a moderation effect. 

Discussion: Existing research so far has examined the empirical connections between how individuals perceive their levels of masculinity, sexism, and PRR voting separately. Our study offers a first step in unpacking the relationship between masculinity and PRR support by focusing specifically on how sexism relates to both these variables.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1038659
JournalFrontiers in Political Science
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Agencia Estatal de Investigación (doi: 10.13039/501100011033 ) that financed the project GenPsyche (grant reference PID2019-107445GB-100) led by MF.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 Coffe, Fraile, Alexander, Fortin-Rittberger and Banducci.


  • gender
  • masculinity
  • populist radical right support
  • sexism
  • VOX (political party)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Public Administration
  • Political Science and International Relations


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