Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


This paper focuses on resolving the false dichotomy between the economic grievance and cultural backlash theses commonly presented in the literature on Right-Wing Populist attitude formation. It elaborates on Gidron and Hall’s social integration thesis by introducing the socioeconomic declinism thesis, which combines social, cultural, and economic factors when measuring Right-Wing populist attitudes. The interaction between the cultural backlash, social integration, and economic grievance theories provides a more holistic account of why right-wing populist attitudes form. This study pulls from the European Social Survey Round 8 to conduct a large-N statistical analysis of two compiled indices—the socioeconomic integration index and the right-wing populist attitude index. Findings reveal a correlation between feelings of socioeconomic decline and right-wing populist attitudes. Determining why people formulate sympathy to populist ideas and leaders can help to dismantle populist support and reintegrate marginalized individuals into society without demonizing an outgroup.