Fear and loathing in populist campaigns?

New publication by Alessandro Nai in Journal of Political Marketing, titled “Fear and loathing in populist campaigns? Comparing the communication style of populists and non-populists in elections worldwide.”

Read the abstract here: Populists are often described as using a more aggressive, offensive, and anxiety-fuelled rhetoric than non-populists. Yet, little systematic evidence exists that this is the case. This article presents the first large-scale systematic study comparing the communication style of populists and non-populists worldwide, and introduces an original dataset based on expert ratings. The dataset contains systematic information for 195 candidates having competed in 40 national elections worldwide between June 2016 and June 2017. Results highlight that, controlling for “usual suspects” that drive negativity and emotional campaigns, populist campaigns are 15% more negative and contain 11% more character attacks and 8% more fear messages than campaigns of non-populist candidates.