Tina Freyburg with Steffen Mohrenberg and Robert Huber on populist attitudes and support for direct democracy
Do citizens who strongly exhibit populist attitudes support direct democracy? Existing studies tend to claim that populists support direct democracy because of their stealth-democratic orientation or argue that stealth democrats want direct democracy due to the populist nature of stealth-democratic attitudes. Yet, albeit both populists and stealth democrats reject elite rule, they prefer direct democracy for different reasons. Populists support direct democracy as a means to implement the volonte ́ ge ́ne ́rale, whereas stealth democrats view it as holding politicians accountable for ineffective policy solutions. Our analysis of representative survey data in four European democracies (France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) reveals that individuals with stronger populist attitudes indeed support direct democracy more than citizens with no strong populist attitudes. This effect is observed when controlling for stealth-democratic orientations and when using a measure separating the feature populism shares with stealth democracy – anti-elitism – from the one unique to populism, people-centrism.
Mohrenberg, S., R. Hubert and T. Freyburg (2019) Love at First Sight? Populist Attitudes and Support for Direct Democracy, Party Politics, online first. [»]