Well in the case of Europe or rather European countries. The current economic climate might cause some shifts in the political spectrum. Parties in government might find themselves losing elections as the electorate blames them in part for their current woes.
Parties can shift their ideology slighlty to make themselves more electable, i.e a left of centre party might move more towards the centre in order to win an election (i.e. Labour to New Labour in the mid 90's eventually winnning the 97 election, though part of that was the voters wanting the Conservatives out)
It might be somewhat cynical but politicans will generally say what they think the electorate wants to hear.
It might be that the majority are centrists, so centre-left parties may gain votes if the centre-right party moves towards the right and vice versa.
As for conservatism not supporting things like the welfare state etc.. I don't think it is gone per say. Many still support universal health care, the welfare state etc.. I think issues with the welfare state (rather than universal health care) is that the perception is that some people live off the state, never work etc...