Left vs Right is dead: Politics is about anarchists vs centrists, new CAGE study shows

The term “anarchist” seems to be used overly broadly in this article, even by my standards, and I suspect “populist” would be a better term than “anarchist.” But it’s an interesting article nevertheless.


Politics should no longer be divided between “left-wing” and “right-wing” because the vital dividing line between groups of voters is now between “anarchists” and “centrists,” claims a new study from the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) based at the University of Warwick.

Voters who support populist politicians on both the left and right have more in common with each other than with “centrists” in their own parties, according to the research carried out by Dr. Mirko Draca, Director of CAGE, and published today by the Social Market Foundation.

The study also suggests that a majority of British voters still reject “anarchy” and populist approaches to politics. Despite widespread claims to the contrary, the paper concludes: “Centrist politics is not dead in the UK.”

Dr. Draca and his fellow Warwick researcher Carlo Schwarz analyzed over two decades of survey results measuring the underlying values of voters across 17 countries in Europe and North America.

Rather than asking about party politics, values surveys ask voters for their thoughts on issues including divorce, prostitution and tax evasion, as well as their view of institutions including parliaments, trade unions, big business and the Press. The responses can reveal underlying political inclinations more accurately than conventional political polling.

Draca’s analysis identifies distinct “clusters” of voters whose values suggest sympathy with populist causes and who can be found among voters classed as left-wing and right-wing. “Left-anarchists” make up an average of 17% of voters across the West, while “Right-anarchists” are 27%.


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