A Pew study shows the media narrative about surging western populism is wrong: traditional parties are still widely seen more favorably
For years now we have been told that in western democracies, politics is defined by a struggle between an emboldened populism and an embattled status quo. According to this logic, those in the first group – populists – are the real voice of the people, and the second group – traditional establishment political parties – represents out-of-touch elites. A recent study shows that these claims are wrong on virtually all counts.
The Pew Research Center, a non-partisan US research organization, surveyed citizens in eight western European countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK) to gauge those citizens’ opinions about key issues and parties in their respective countries. (Full disclosure: I consulted on this project.) Pew’s fascinating report shows how simplistic and wrong the dominant media narrative is. I’ll discuss four of the most important findings.