From Democratization to Populism: Explaining the rise and resilience of populism in Central Europe
28 Pages Posted:
Date Written: August 19, 2020
How does voter support for populist parties change from the time they are in opposition to the time they govern their country? We test three explanations – based on three perceptions of insecurity – 1) ontological, 2) economic, and 3) cultural insecurity. We focus on two major populist parties in Europe - Fidesz in Hungary and Law and Justice in Poland and use data from the European Social Survey from 2004 to 2018. We contribute to the literature on global populism by examining the evolution of populist voter support. We find that socio-tropic (not pocketbook) economic insecurity is the most significant driver of voter support for populists but the relationship reverses its sign once such parties are in power. While cultural insecurity also fuels support for populists, its significance diminishes when populists are in office. Lastly, ontological insecurity begins to matter primarily after populists have assumed power.
Keywords: populism, postcommunism, Eastern Europe, Hungary, Poland
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation