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Populist attitudes and threat perceptions of global transformations and governance: Experimental evidence from India and the United Kingdom

Populist attitudes and threat perceptions of global transformations and governance: Experimental evidence from India and the United Kingdom
Populist attitudes and threat perceptions of global transformations and governance: Experimental evidence from India and the United Kingdom
Contemporary global crises and transformations—including climate change, migration, digitalization, pandemics, financial and economic integration, and terrorism—increasingly determine democratic politics and policymaking. We examine how populist attitudes are associated with perceptions of the threats posed by these six global crises and transformations. Using original survey data in India and the United Kingdom alongside secondary data in the United Kingdom, we robustly show that stronger populist attitudes are positively associated with the perception of threat posed by all six crises and transformations—particularly to the economy and national way of life, but also, of theoretical note, to humanitarian concerns. Furthermore, experimentally priming populist individuals on global governance solutions to each transformation has no effect on their perception of threat, suggesting that such threat perceptions are not driven by political concerns but by the societal crises and transformations themselves. Overall, our findings theoretically support the ideational conceptualization of populism as a thin ideology, distinct from nationalism or left-right attitudes, which acts as a broad, if thin, political psychological predisposition. Substantially, we cautiously argue that our findings may give cause for optimism about the potential to rally popular support for global governance solutions to global challenges.
Experiment Design, climate change, migration, political psychology, populism, terrorism, threat perception
1467-9221
873-892
Dennison, James
3bfa8b56-b981-46ae-87e7-102b937d7c6c
Turnbull-Dugarte, Stuart J.
e25c6280-842c-407f-a961-6472eea5d845
Dennison, James
3bfa8b56-b981-46ae-87e7-102b937d7c6c
Turnbull-Dugarte, Stuart J.
e25c6280-842c-407f-a961-6472eea5d845

Dennison, James and Turnbull-Dugarte, Stuart J. (2022) Populist attitudes and threat perceptions of global transformations and governance: Experimental evidence from India and the United Kingdom. Political Psychology, 43 (5), 873-892. (doi:10.1111/pops.12817).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Contemporary global crises and transformations—including climate change, migration, digitalization, pandemics, financial and economic integration, and terrorism—increasingly determine democratic politics and policymaking. We examine how populist attitudes are associated with perceptions of the threats posed by these six global crises and transformations. Using original survey data in India and the United Kingdom alongside secondary data in the United Kingdom, we robustly show that stronger populist attitudes are positively associated with the perception of threat posed by all six crises and transformations—particularly to the economy and national way of life, but also, of theoretical note, to humanitarian concerns. Furthermore, experimentally priming populist individuals on global governance solutions to each transformation has no effect on their perception of threat, suggesting that such threat perceptions are not driven by political concerns but by the societal crises and transformations themselves. Overall, our findings theoretically support the ideational conceptualization of populism as a thin ideology, distinct from nationalism or left-right attitudes, which acts as a broad, if thin, political psychological predisposition. Substantially, we cautiously argue that our findings may give cause for optimism about the potential to rally popular support for global governance solutions to global challenges.

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Accepted/In Press date: 22 February 2022
e-pub ahead of print date: 21 March 2022
Published date: October 2022
Additional Information: Funding Information: Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to James Dennison, European University Institute, Via delle Fontanelle, 19, 50014 Fiesole FI, Italy. E-mail: james.dennison@eui.eu Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors. Political Psychology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of International Society of Political Psychology.
Keywords: Experiment Design, climate change, migration, political psychology, populism, terrorism, threat perception

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 456157
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/456157
ISSN: 1467-9221
PURE UUID: bc631a3c-e7e1-4654-be41-b75e70272dc0
ORCID for Stuart J. Turnbull-Dugarte: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9330-3945

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Date deposited: 26 Apr 2022 15:07
Last modified: 07 Jan 2023 03:02

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Author: James Dennison

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