Taylor & Francis Group
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Populism in election times: a comparative analysis of 11 countries in Western Europe

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-05-08, 11:53 authored by Laurent Bernhard, Hanspeter Kriesi

The article comparatively examines the levels of populism exhibited by parties in Western Europe. It relies on a quantitative content analysis of press releases collected in the context of 11 national elections between 2012 and 2015. In line with the first hypothesis, the results show that parties from both the radical right and the radical left make use of populist appeals more frequently than mainstream parties. With regard to populism on cultural issues, the article establishes that the radical right outclasses the remaining parties, thereby supporting the second hypothesis. On economic issues, both types of radical parties are shown to be particularly populist. This pattern counters the third hypothesis, which suggests that economic populism is most prevalent among the radical left. Finally, there is no evidence for the fourth hypothesis, given that parties from the south do not resort to more populism on economic issues than those from the north.