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Populist Words Speak Louder? Ideology-Inconsistent Personalization and Voting for Populist Candidates
International Journal of Public Opinion Research  (IF2.11),  Pub Date : 2021-06-28, DOI: 10.1093/ijpor/edaa042
Müller P, Denner N.

The private background of populist politicians oftentimes seemingly contradicts the populist ideology—which can be taken up in political communication. Using two experiments (nStudy 1 = 734; nStudy 2 = 568), we investigate the effects of such ideology-inconsistent personalization on the evaluation of and voting for a populist candidate. We manipulate the politician’s localness and social class (Study 1) and traditionalism in family life (Study 2). Results reveal a number of effects on candidate evaluation which translated into voting intentions. An upper-class background of the populist politician yielded negative effects, but less so among populist voters. However, references to a cosmopolitan biography decreased perceived trustworthiness among all participants. Surprisingly, a nontraditional (i.e., homosexual) relationship was beneficial for a (female) populist.