Examining the Mobilizing Effect of Populist Political Communication: A Survey Experiment of Populist Communication Style Across Three Policy Issues

Signe Ringdal Bergan


Do populist-framed messages mobilize citizens to engage with and participate in politics more than non-populist messages, and does this vary according to party preference? Based on a survey experiment, this article presents a study of the behavioral effects of populist and non-populist messages on political engagement among Norwegian voters. This article investigates three policy issues that represent salient political cleavages framed with populist communication style contrasted with similar messages that lack populist framing. The results show that Norwegian citizens are generally reluctant to share policy issues—populist or not. However, this changes when party preferences align with populist policy issues. Populist communication style is seen to be most effective among voters of left- and right-wing political parties.


populist communication style, politicized collective identity, survey experiment, behavioral intention, political engagement

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