The populist citizen: Empirical evidence from Europe and Latin America

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Abstract

Scholars are increasingly interested in 'populist attitudes', which-studies show-can explain party support and vote choice. However, current research has not yet analyzed in detail the characteristics of those individuals with populist proclivities, or so-called populist citizens. To address this research gap, we harmonize survey data on populist attitudes for nine European countries, five Latin American countries, and Turkey in order to uncover shared or distinct features of populist citizens. Our findings are threefold. First, we identify differences in the sociodemographic characteristics of populist citizens, notably between Europe and Latin America. Second, we find similar patterns of heterogeneity in the political features of populist citizens. Third, we show that populist citizens across all countries have the same democratic profile. They systematically support democracy over other forms of government, while being dissatisfied with its implementation. This suggests populist attitudes are intrinsic to the political culture of contemporary democracies.

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Rovira Kaltwasser, C., & Van Hauwaert, S. M. (2020). The populist citizen: Empirical evidence from Europe and Latin America. European Political Science Review, 12(1), 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1755773919000262

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