Populist attitudes, anti-technocratic attitudes, and Covid-related conspiracy beliefs across Europe

Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.

This article is free to access.


This paper focuses on the puzzle of how what could have been initially regarded as a decline in populist support became compatible with widespread conspiracy beliefs during the Covid crisis. Analyzing survey data collected in 16 countries in June–July 2021, we explore how support for Covid conspiracies is embedded in the attitudinal map of individuals and offer three contributions to the literature on conspiracy beliefs and populism. First, we employ an original scale for measuring conspiracy beliefs benchmarked both on a general conspiratorial mindset item and on a non-conspiratorial item. Second, building on the multidimensionality of the concept of populism and its empirical distinction to neighboring anti-technocratic attitudes, we employ a new scale developed and tested by Bertsou and Caramani (2022) that allows us to highlight the differential role that these attitudes play into conspiracy beliefs. Third, we inquire into the role played by previous factors associated with populist attitudes, such as trust and ideology, but also understudied ones such as performance evaluations and (dis)satisfaction with the management of the crisis at the domestic and at the EU level. Our results show that conspiracy, populist, and anti-technocratic attitudes are highly prevalent and related to each other, despite an initial “rally” effect in the beginning of the pandemic. Furthermore, government and EU performance in the crisis matter, net of trust and ideology, playing a moderating role in the populism–conspiracy nexus.




Oana, I. E., & Bojar, A. (2023). Populist attitudes, anti-technocratic attitudes, and Covid-related conspiracy beliefs across Europe. Comparative European Politics, 21(4), 515–534. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41295-023-00331-x

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free