How men became more right-wing than women in Sweden

By Karthik Muthuswamy

The political identification of men has increased significantly towards the right since 1968, according to a study by Election Research Program (Valforskningsprogrammet) of the University of Gothenburg.

Since the 1970s, voter turnout has been about the same for both genders. However, there are gaps in political preferences and identification, which have widened over the past decade.

Jakob Ahlbom - who reported the study along with Maria Oskarson - said: “the last couple of decades has seen a rightwards shift among men – in relation to women. The first wave (approx. 1982-1998) is related to the neoliberal wave and a revolt against the social democratic past which for various reasons hit harder among men. The latter wave (since 2006 and in particular since 2018) is more related to the “cultural backlash”.

A survey question in the study asked the participants to place themselves on a scale of left to right by political position. The average of answers for men and women showed that men identify considerably more to the right, and women slightly to the left. The gap between men and women has been widening since 2010 and reached its peak before the 2018 elections.

The widening gap in the last decade can be attributed to the differences in how men and women vote for different parties.

This can be seen from the Party sympathy survey(PSU) taken -every half year- by Statistics Sweden. The data shows that the party –Sweden Democrats- that entered the parliament in 2010 has the biggest difference between male and female sympathizers.

The percentage of men that would vote for Sweden Democrats has increased by more than three times since 2010. The percentage point difference between men and women in the survey taken in May 2022 is 13.7%.

The Social Democrats has the next biggest difference. While the party received nearly the same percentage of sympathizers before 2010 from both genders, the difference is more than ten percent, this year.

A similar trend can be seen for the Left Party since 2010.

The Green Party has always had a higher degree of female sympathizers, and it remains the same.

Historically, the Moderate party had a higher proportion of male sympathizers. But in the latest survey, the party, along with Christian Democrats, Liberals and Center Party, have an approximately equal proportion of male and female sympathizers.

The latest survey shows that both the left and right blocks would get a clear majority from women and men respectively.

The study showed that, in comparison to men, women "place higher priorities on welfare issues, and are more positive about public welfare policies". This is reflected in their support for the political parties, and in the previous election in 2018 "women voted distinctively more to the left than men did".


Choose a party and compare the part preferences for men and women.

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Method and data

Data can be found here and here.

Do you want to give feedback or just want to discuss something? Did you find something interesting while exploring the graphs? It is potentially a new story! Your thoughts/suggestions are highly valuable to me - don’t hesitate to contact me.

Visualisation made with Flourish and Scrollama.

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