Authoritarian Populism Index

Timbro’s Authoritarian Populism Index is the only Europe-wide comprehensive study that aims to shed light on whether populism poses a long-term threat. The Index explores the rise of authoritarian populism in Europe by analysing electoral data from 1980 to 2019.

The survey begins with 1980, since the overwhelming majority of today’s populist parties emerged during the 1980s and 1990s. Countries are included as soon as they are categorised as a “free” society by Freedom House, an American, governmental-funded NGO. Hence, most post-communist countries enter the survey in 1990, Serbia in 2000 and Croatia in 2001.

Results are included for every party in all elections to national parliaments. Presidential elections, elections to the European Parliament and regional or local elections are excluded.


Authoritarian Populism Index

20 February 2019

The 2019 edition of Timbro Authoritarian Populism Index shows that 2018 was the best year to date for populist parties across Europe. Today, their average voter support is at 22.2 percent. This is an increase with 1.5 percent compared to 2017. In addition, this is the second biggest increase on record between two consecutive years.

Key conclusions of the index

  • More than one in four cast their vote for an authoritarian populist party last time they voted in a national election.
  • Voter support for authoritarian populists increased in all six elections in Europe during 2018 and has on an aggregated level increased in ten out of the last eleven elections.
  • The combined support for left- and right-wing populist parties now equals the support for Social democratic parties and is twice the size of support for liberal parties.
  • Right-wing populist parties are currently growing more rapidly than ever before and have increased their voter support with 33 percent in four years.
  • Almost every other government includes or relies on populists: authoritarian populists are part of eleven out of 33 governments and offer parliamentary support in an additional four countries.
  • Hungary, Greece and Italy are the three countries where the support for authoritarian populist parties is strongest, while the weakest support is found in Malta, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

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The Populism Index: Measuring a Growing and Transforming Force in Politics

20 February 2019

Populism is both a style of politics and an ideology with a stipulated division of politics and society between a corrupt, exploitative elite and a united and virtuous people.

Right populists have come to support a dirigiste national economic policy, strong assertion of traditional national identity, and the assertion of a European identity against the non-European world.

The 2019 Authoritarian Populism Index shows an increase in support for populist parties across Europe, with populists of right and left in power – either alone or in coalition – in 11 EU countries.

There are several possibilities for the future of populism, the most likely being that the emerging ideology and politics of national collectivism will become more explicit. It’s probable that politics in most European countries will align around a new division between nationalism and globalism.

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