Media messages’ influence on populist attitudes. State of the art and insights from an experimental research on the Italian case.
The electoral success of populist parties has recently attracted the attention of a growing literature. Whereas the supply-side of populism has been addressed in a variety of ways, many studies have tried to define a profile of the populist voter. Among the factors that play a role in determining the populist vote, the sharing of particular political attitudes, defined as populist attitudes, resulted to be crucial. In fact, a series of studies demonstrated that populist attitudes are positively associated with voting for populist parties. This finding has sparked scholars’ interest also in individuating the factors connected to populist attitudes. From the scholarships on the topic, relevant results have emerged, especially regarding the influence of media communication on these attitudes.
The repeated success of populist forces in Italy and the close relation between media and politics in this country make compelling to include also to the Italian case in the studies about the relation between populist attitudes and media messages. This article wants to take a step in this direction. Consequently, it first provides a review of the literature on populist attitudes and their connection with populist vote and media populist messages, then it considers the (few) Italian studies on the topics; finally it presents the preliminary results concerning the Italian case of an experimental comparative study on media messages’ impact on populist attitudes.