American Government and Politics

Religion and American Populism: The View from the 2020 American National Election Study

Authors

Abstract

Although the rise of right-wing populism in Western democracies has received enormous attention from social scientists, there has been much less research directed at the role of religion in creating support for populist movements. In this paper, we consider the influence of religious factors in the development of conservative populism in the United States. We find that ethnoreligious traditions have very different responses to populist themes, with Evangelical Protestants quite supportive of most populist attitudes and atheists and agnostics spearheading the opposition. Many, but not all, of these differences are explained by theological traditionalism, with the religiously orthodox in almost all ethnoreligious groups more prone to take populist stances.

Content

Thumbnail image of Religion and Populism in the United States, 2020 APSA.pdf

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