Varieties of Populist Attitudes in Portugal: An exploratory analysis
Da austeridade à pandemia
The literature on populism has identified a considerable degree of variation in terms of the nature of this phenomenon, distinguishing between inclusionary and exclusionary populism, and/or between rightwing and leftwing populism. In turn, the flourishing stream of research on populist attitudes has so far considered those attitudes to be unidimensional, as it merely focuses on the lowest common denominators of populism as a thin-centered ideology: people-centrism, anti-elitism and call for popular sovereignty. In this paper, we propose to expand our knowledge about the nature of populist attitudes by exploring the varieties of attitudes we may find under the general umbrella of populism. Relying on survey data collected in Portugal in 2018, we add to the most often used populist attitudes scale a series of variables measuring attitudes traditionally associated with left-wing (i.e. distrust in financial institutions) and right-wing populism (i.e. negative attitudes towards immigrants and minorities) and carry out a cluster analysis aimed at identifying subtypes of populist citizens. In a second step, we explore the correlates of each subtype in terms of socioeconomic traits, attitudes and partisanship. By doing this, in a context where an overwhelming majority of citizens scores fairly high in terms of populist attitudes, we will be able to offer a more nuanced portrait of this phenomenon and assess how different types of populist attitudes lead to different stances on the political landscape.