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A multi-dimensional measure to assess populist attitudes in the public in eight languages


Wirth, Werner; Schemer, Christian; Schulz, Anne; Wettstein, Martin; Wirz, Dominique; Müller, Philipp (2016). A multi-dimensional measure to assess populist attitudes in the public in eight languages. NCCR democracy Working Paper Series 87, University of Zurich.

Abstract

Research on populism has primarily traced the phenomenon within party manifestoes or mass media content. Research on its manifestation within people’s heads has played a minor role. Yet, as populist parties are undoubtedly on the rise it seems of high importance to investigate on political attitudes that can be related to voting for these parties. The few studies that have to date endeavored to measure populist attitudes in the public have treated the concept as a unidimensional construct (e.g., Akkerman, Mudde & Zaslove, 2013). However, theoretically, populism has been defined as a political ideology set together by three different political ideas or sub-dimensions: anti-elitism attitudes, a preference for popular sovereignty, and a belief in the homogeneous and virtuous of the people. Hence, in order to trace the complete phenomenon, we propose to conceptualize populist attitudes as a latent higher-order construct with three distinct first-order dimensions.
Following this approach we developed a 9- and a 12-item inventory (PopAtt9 and PopAtt12) to measure populist attitudes. Construct validity of the measure was demonstrated by both, exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis (cf. Schulz, et al. 2016). For the 9-item inventory, each sub-dimension of populist attitudes is represented by 3 indicator-items, for the 12-item inventory each sub-dimension is represented by 4 indicator-items. The authors recommend using the 12-item inventory. However, if space is restricted, the short version can be employed. This working paper documents the respective 9- and 12-item scales in eight languages. Available languages are English, Bulgarian, Dutch, German, French, Italian, Polish, Swedish.

Abstract

Research on populism has primarily traced the phenomenon within party manifestoes or mass media content. Research on its manifestation within people’s heads has played a minor role. Yet, as populist parties are undoubtedly on the rise it seems of high importance to investigate on political attitudes that can be related to voting for these parties. The few studies that have to date endeavored to measure populist attitudes in the public have treated the concept as a unidimensional construct (e.g., Akkerman, Mudde & Zaslove, 2013). However, theoretically, populism has been defined as a political ideology set together by three different political ideas or sub-dimensions: anti-elitism attitudes, a preference for popular sovereignty, and a belief in the homogeneous and virtuous of the people. Hence, in order to trace the complete phenomenon, we propose to conceptualize populist attitudes as a latent higher-order construct with three distinct first-order dimensions.
Following this approach we developed a 9- and a 12-item inventory (PopAtt9 and PopAtt12) to measure populist attitudes. Construct validity of the measure was demonstrated by both, exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis (cf. Schulz, et al. 2016). For the 9-item inventory, each sub-dimension of populist attitudes is represented by 3 indicator-items, for the 12-item inventory each sub-dimension is represented by 4 indicator-items. The authors recommend using the 12-item inventory. However, if space is restricted, the short version can be employed. This working paper documents the respective 9- and 12-item scales in eight languages. Available languages are English, Bulgarian, Dutch, German, French, Italian, Polish, Swedish.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Uncontrolled Keywords:populism, populist attitudes, scale development
Language:English
Date:July 2016
Deposited On:15 Nov 2016 14:13
Last Modified:15 Nov 2016 14:14
Series Name:NCCR democracy Working Paper Series
Number of Pages:12
Funders:Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

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