The Populism Propensity Score (PPS) predicted support for populist candidates and parties in seven out of eight regression models estimated from survey data from France, Austria, Germany, and The Netherlands (base and full models for each country). In France, PPS was statistically and substantively significant in both models estimating support for Le Pen in the first round of the presidential election. PPS was also predictive of support for Le Pen in the second round of the presidential election. A standard survey measure of populism (SSMP), tested in the full model in France, was not significant. SSMP was also not a statistically significant predictor of support for populist candidates or parties in any of the full models developed for the four survey countries.
The key drivers of support for Le Pen in France include: PPS, ideology, lack of trust in government, economic dissatisfaction, antipathy toward the EU, concern that immigrants pose a threat to public safety, and negative feelings toward refugees.
In the base model, the higher a French voter’s PPS, the more likely the voter was to support Le Pen in the first round of the presidential election. (This was also true in the second round contest between Le Pen and Macron.) Variables estimated in this model include ideology and PPS, as well as a wide range of demographic variables including age, gender, education marital status, religiosity, employment status, pride in being French, the number of generations a respondent’s family have lived in France, and whether the respondent was born in France. Only PPS, ideology, age, sex and born in France were significant factors predicting support for Le Pen.
In the full French model, PPS once again predicted support for Le Pen. A standard survey measure of populism included in this model did not. Variables estimated in this model included ideology and PPS, as well as several others that were thought to be important drivers in the outcome of the French election. These variables were a standard survey measure of populism, feelings toward refugees, an assessment of the threat immigrants pose to public safety, attitudes toward leaving the European Union, personal economic satisfaction, trust in the French government, nationalism, and gender. All variables in the full model --except populism, the threat to public safety posed by immigrants, and nationalism --were statistically significant predictors of support for Le Pen. The R-square of the full model – a measure of how well an observed vote for Le Pen is represented by the model --- was .827 with an adjusted count of .402, indicating a very strong fit.