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Lucas Da Silva

PhD Candidate, Political Science




Doctoral Thesis Summary

My dissertation explores a surprising puzzle: why do Western European working-class voters often contradict their left-wing economic interests by supporting centre-right or radical-right parties? I argue that social democratic parties often attempt to attract growing middle-class demographics with liberal cultural policies and by framing such issues in a way that appeals to highly-educated voters. Consequently, using a rational choice and socio-psychological approach (respectively), I test whether these shifts cause working-class voters to perceive a greater ideological distance and identity divergence, causing backlash against these parties. I intend to use experiments, observational data, and quantitative text analysis to explore these questions.


I am completing the first year of a PhD in Political Science at Trinity College Dublin. I received my MSc in International Politics, also from Trinity. My bachelor's degree was a double major in History and Digital Media, with a minor in Business. Before commencing the MSc, I worked for five years in the digital media industry as a director of Southern European operations, based in Austria and Cyprus. My research interests include party politics, electoral behaviour, and public opinion. I am particularly interested in large-scale ideological shifts among Western European parties and electorates. My methods include experiments and machine learning.