Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: Henrik Montgomery / TT
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: Henrik Montgomery / TT

Study: Sweden Democrat voters intolerant

Support for the Sweden Democrats is not based on anti-establishment views but more on xenophobia, say two researchers in a new study.

The anti-immigration party triggered the collapse of the centre-left government on Wednesday.

"What is particular to Sweden Democrat voters is their extremely intolerant and xenophobic attitudes," wrote Linköping University Professor Peter Hedström and researcher Tim Müller, in a piece published in Dagens Nyheter.

The study, conducted in collaboration with polling institute Novus, examined xenophobic attitudes among voters and political parties.

"Our results show that 50 percent of the 2014 Sweden Democrat voters react negatively to having a Muslim as a neighbour, around 45 percent react negatively to having a Muslim looking after a parent and 80 percent of SD voters have a negative stance to a Muslim marrying into the family," the pair wrote in the article.

To say that the success of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, who received almost 13 percent of the vote in the September election, can be explained by voter disssatisfaction with the political establishment is wrong, according to Peter Hedström and Tim Müller.

"The support for SD is hardly associated with individuals' dissatisfaction with the political establishment. However, there is a very strong correlation between negative attitudes towards minorities and voting for SD".

The Sweden Democrats leader says the election in March 2015 will be a referendum on immigration.

Shunned by mainstream parties, the Sweden Democrats have threatened to make Sweden effectively ungovernable unless the country adopts tough immigration policies like those of nearby Denmark, aiming at a 90 percent cut in asylum seeker numbers.

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