Notable publications

Van Hauwaert, S. M., & van Kessel, S. (2017). Beyond protest and discontent: A cross-national analysis of the effect of populist attitudes and issue positions on populist party support. European Journal of Political Research. early view.

Studies on populist parties – or ‘supply-side populism’ more generally – are numerous. Nevertheless, the connection with demand-side dynamics, and particularly the populist characteristics or tendencies of the electorate, requires more scholarly attention. This article examines in more detail the conditions underlying the support for populist parties, and in particular the role of populist attitudes amongst citizens. It asks two core questions: (1) are populist party supporters characterised by stronger populist attitudes than other party supporters, and (2) to what extent do populist (and other) attitudes contribute to their party preference? The analysis uses xed effect models and relies on a cross-sectional research design that uses unique survey data from 2015 and includes nine European countries. The results are threefold. First, in line with single-country studies, populist attitudes are prominent among supporters of left- and right-wing populist parties in particular. Second, populist attitudes are important predictors of populist party support in addition to left-wing socioeconomic issue positions for left-wing populist parties, and authoritarian and anti-immigration issue positions for right-wing populist parties. Third, populist attitudes moderate the effect of issue positions on the support for populist parties, particularly for individuals whose positions are further removed from the extreme ends of the economic or cultural policy scale. These ndings suggest that strong populist attitudes may encourage some voters to support a populist party whose issue positions are incongruous with their own policy-related preferences.

Van Hauwaert, S. M. (2015). An initial profile of the ideologically volatile voter in Europe: The multidimensional role of party attachment and the conditionality of the political system. Electoral Studies. 40(C), 87-101.

Since the ‘defreezing’ of traditional cleavages and the following dealignment, electoral volatility has been an important field of study. Notwithstanding the often aggregate-level analysis of electoral volatility, this study introduces the notion of ideological volatility to indicate an individual-level shift in vote decision between ideological blocks, thereby complementing the more common study of partisan volatility. Using CSES data, this study examines ideological volatility in 28 European elections between 2001 and 2011. Using a set of multilevel models, the analysis specifically confirms the conditionality of party attachment (dichotomous) and its dependency on the political system when explaining ideological volatility. The effect of party attachment on the likelihood to become ideologically volatile is more substantial when a political system is more diversified.