The implications of how we are feeling Exploring the relationship between well-being and populism

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Previous research has established that discontent related to economic uncertainty and sociocultural phenomena partially explains populist party support. The present thesis builds on an emergent third strand of research that investigates well-being as an additional explanation. Where previous research used measures such as life satisfaction and happiness as explanatory variables, the present study understands well-being as a complex multidimensional concept encompassing elements of hedonic, eudaimonic and evaluative understandings of well-being. By conducting a factor analysis, an index of subjective individual well-being is built and by using data from the European Social Survey it is investigated whether individuals with a low well-being are more likely to support a populist party. The results of logistic regression analyses show that well-being is indeed negatively correlated with populist party support. Furthermore, it is found that the eudaimonic dimension of well-being is most important in explaining populist party support and that people who are concerned about the life situation of fellow citizens are more inclined to opt for this support. Finally, avenues for further research are presented and implications for scholars as well as non-scholars are given
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