Stealth democracy and the support for new and challenger parties. Articles uri icon

publication date

  • May 2018

start page

  • 267

end page

  • 289


  • 10

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1755-7739


  • In the wake of the 2008 Great Recession, new and challenger parties have enjoyed electoral gains in some European countries. Political and economic disaffection have been pointed out as the main drivers of their electoral support. This article proposes voter's stealth democracy attitudes, as defined by Hibbing and Theiss-Morse, as an additional driving force to account for this electoral change. We examine the case of Spain with a survey conducted after the far-reaching transformation of the party system, which has led to the emergence of two new parties: Ciudadanos (on the center-right) and Podemos (on the radical-left). We find that stealth democracy attitudes are positively related to the support for the former and negatively related to the support for the latter. Additionally, we provide evidence of this relationship being conditional on voters' ideology. The study illustrates how an unexplored attitudinal dimension contributes to party system change, and how the relevance of these attitudes might go beyond the temporary political discontent caused by the economic crisis.


  • stealth democracy; new parties; challenger parties; great recession; party system change