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Fatke, Matthias (2019): The personality of populists: How the Big Five traits relate to populist attitudes. In: Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 139: pp. 138-151

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Recent years have witnessed striking successes of populist movements. Yet, while populism on the supply side is fairly well studied, we know surprisingly little about individuals who hold populist views. This article attempts to shed light on how populist attitudes are shaped on the demand side by taking a person's personality structure into account. Drawing on the framework of the Big Five personality traits, we first propose relationships between each trait and populist attitudes. Second, we suggest a more dynamic perspective by considering which personality trait might make a person more susceptible to adopting populist views throughout an election campaign, particularly if she identifies with a populist party. We test the relationships in two distinct contexts making use of the internet panel of the 2015 British Election Study and the campaign panel of the 2017 German Longitudinal Election Study. Regression results show that some traits are significantly associated with populist attitudes, but relationships differ between countries. Moreover, change in populist attitudes appears to be largely independent from personality traits and their interaction with being close to populist parties. The findings not only contribute to our understanding of populism among voters, but also enrich the debate on political implications of personality.

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