The rise of the radical right fundamentally changes the face of electoral competition in Western
Europe.Bipolar competition is becoming tripolar, as the two dominant party poles of the twentieth century –
the left and the centre-right – are challenged by a third pole of the radical right. Between 2000 and 2015,
the radical right has secured more than 12 per cent of the vote in over tenWestern European countries.This
article shows how electoral competition between the three party poles plays out at the micro level of social
classes. It presents a model of class voting that distinguishes between classes that are a party’s preserve,
classes that are contested strongholds of two parties and classes over which there is an open competition.
Using seven rounds of the European Social Survey, it shows that sociocultural professionals form the party
preserve of the left, and large employers and managers the preserve of the centre-right. However, the radical
right competes with the centre-right for the votes of small business owners, and it challenges the left over its
working-class stronghold.These two contested strongholds attest to the co-existence of old and new patterns
of class voting. Old patterns are structured by an economic conflict: Production workers vote for the left and
small business owners for the centre-right based on their economic attitudes. In contrast, new patterns are
linked to the rise of the radical right and structured by a cultural conflict.