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Right-wing populism and climate policies: Explaining opposition to road tolls in Norway

Marianne Aasen, Håkon Sælen

In 2019, the road toll uproar in Norway contributed to a governmental crisis and road tolls became the most debated issue in the media. Using survey data of around 2,000 respondents, we explore what characterizes opponents of road tolls. Key findings are that attitudes relating to climate change, the environment, and right-wing populism are strongly related to opposition to road tolls. We propose that these attitudes and opposition to toll roads are components of an anti-elitist identity struggle linked to recent literature suggesting that right-wing populists display particular resistance to climate-related policies. Lack of alternative transport modes is not a strong predictor, while owning a car does predict increased opposition. A policy-relevant question for future research is how to facilitate more inclusive climate policies debates, bringing in those who feel left out, for the instruments to be both efficient and legitimate.

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