Anna Storz, Julian Bernauer
Interactions between Party and Voter Populism: A Quantitative Text Analysis of Cantonal Manifestos of the SVP

Swiss Elections Special Issue Author Conference (SPSR), Neuchâtel, October 12th to October 13th, 2017

This article studies the interactive effect between intra-party heterogeneity and individual attitudes on vote choice for the case of populism. We draw on party manifestos to measure populism of 26 cantonal branches of the SVP, relying on a quantitative text analysis. These estimates are related to individual-level Selects data from the 2015 National Council elections on voter attitudes regarding populism and voting decisions. Controlling for alternative explanations, we test whether populist attitudes interact with a higher degree of populism in the cantonal branch of the SVP in the explanation of the vote for the party. We show that there is a variety of populism (or general heterogeneity) between the different cantonal branches of the SVP. On the individual-level, populist attitudes appear to smoothly translate into a SVP vote, and there is supporting evidence regarding the interaction between individual and contextual populism.