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 the Netherlands, PPS was a statistically and substantively significant predictor of support for Wilders’s Party for Freedom (PVV) in the base model only. Neither PPS or a standard survey measure of populism (SSMP) were significant in the full model.
The key drivers of support for Wilders’s PVV in the full model were quite varied including: ideology, lack of trust in government, support for leaving the EU, concern that immigrants pose a threat to public safety, and resentment toward Muslims as well as educational attainment, gender, employment status, and religiosity. Religiosity, educational attainment, and employment status were only significant predictors of support for populist politics (full model) in the Netherlands.
A generalized structural equation model of support for Wilders’s PVV, which estimates the direct and indirect effects of PPS on support for his candidacy provides a more nuanced explanation of the key variables contributing to Wilders support. In this analysis, the direct effects of lack of trust in government, support for leaving the EU, gender, religiosity, and resentment toward Muslims remain significant while the indirect effects of PPS on support for Wilders was both significant and robust, demonstrating the importance of PPS to Wilders’s voter.
In the base model, the higher a Dutch voter’s PPS, the more likely the voter was to support Wilders’s PVV. 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 Dutch, the number of generations a respondent’s family have lived in Holland, and whether the respondent was born in the country. PPS, ideology, age, educational attainment, religiosity, pride, and generations in Holland were significant factors predicting support for Wilders’s PVV.
In the full model, a long list of variables predicted support for Wilders’s PVV including lack of trust in government, the belief that immigrants pose a threat to public safety, and support for leaving the EU. Religiosity, educational attainment, and employment status were also significant predictors of support for populist politics in the Netherlands. Holland is the only country surveyed where these variables were significant in the full model.
The R-square of the full model – a measure of how well an observed vote for Wilders’s PVV is represented by the model --- was .882 with an adjusted count of .337, indicating a very strong fit.
Neither PPS or SSMP were significant predictors of support for Wilders’s PVV in the full model. This was the only model tested where PPS was not significant. A generalized structural equation model, however, found PPS to have significant and substantive indirect effects on support for Wilders’s PVV. In this GSEM analysis, SSMP was still insignificant.