From Democratization to Populism: Explaining the rise and resilience of populism in Central Europe

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See all articles by Maria Snegovaya

Maria Snegovaya

Johns Hopkins University

Tsveta Petrova

Dept of Political Science

Date Written: August 19, 2020

Abstract

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

Snegovaya, Maria and Petrova, Tsveta, From Democratization to Populism: Explaining the rise and resilience of populism in Central Europe (August 19, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3769508

Maria Snegovaya (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins University ( email )

Baltimore, MD 20036-1984
United States

Tsveta Petrova

Dept of Political Science ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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