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Are Populists Sore Losers? Explaining Populist Citizens' Preferences for and Reactions to Referendums


Werner, Hannah; Jacobs, Kristof (2022). Are Populists Sore Losers? Explaining Populist Citizens' Preferences for and Reactions to Referendums. British Journal of Political Science, 52(3):1409-1417.

Abstract

Can referendums help increase perceived legitimacy among citizens with populist attitudes? Indeed, public opinion surveys show that populist citizens are especially in favour of referendums. However, we do not know whether this support reflects a principled desire for different decision-making procedures or an instrumental one (that is, because they expect referendums to yield favourable outcomes). We study this question on a real-life case: the Dutch 2018 referendum on the Intelligence and Security Services Act 2017. Using high-quality survey data from both before and after the referendum, we find that, counter to conventional wisdom and our hypotheses, populists' support for referendums is less driven by instrumental motives compared to that of non-populists, and that populists are more likely than non-populists to accept the outcome of a referendum, even when this outcome is unfavourable.

Abstract

Can referendums help increase perceived legitimacy among citizens with populist attitudes? Indeed, public opinion surveys show that populist citizens are especially in favour of referendums. However, we do not know whether this support reflects a principled desire for different decision-making procedures or an instrumental one (that is, because they expect referendums to yield favourable outcomes). We study this question on a real-life case: the Dutch 2018 referendum on the Intelligence and Security Services Act 2017. Using high-quality survey data from both before and after the referendum, we find that, counter to conventional wisdom and our hypotheses, populists' support for referendums is less driven by instrumental motives compared to that of non-populists, and that populists are more likely than non-populists to accept the outcome of a referendum, even when this outcome is unfavourable.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Political Science and International Relations
Uncontrolled Keywords:democratic innovations, referendum, populist attitudes, political behaviour
Language:English
Date:2022
Deposited On:30 May 2024 12:45
Last Modified:06 Jun 2024 13:57
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0007-1234
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007123421000314
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)