Personality & Populism

Core findings

1. Personality, and particularly the trait agreeableness, predicts voting for populist parties or politicians (Bakker et al 2016).

2. Personality, particularly extraversion and openness, predict vote switching (Bakker, Klemmensen, Norgaard, Schumacher 2016).

3. The level of political cynicism makes populist voters unique compared to other voters (Schumacher and Rooduijn 2013).

4. Mainstream parties copy and paste the successful electoral formula of populist parties of emphasizing welfare chauvinism (Schumacher and van Kersbergen 2016).


Work in progress

1. A causal analysis of the relationship between agreeableness and populist voting using panel data, a conjoint experiment and a psychophysiological study. This work has been presented at the ICA conference in San Diego (2017) and the ISSP conference in Edinburgh (2017). Click here for the slides. And click here for the blog about this research.



Bert Bakker, Matthijs Rooduijn, & Gijs Schumacher (2017). Response to Schimpf and Schoen’s Response to Bakker, Rooduijn and Schumacher (2016). Open Science Framework. November 24.

Read response
Jonathan Polk, Jan Rovny, Ryan Bakker, Erica Edwards, Liesbet Hooghe, Seth Jolly, Jelle Koedam, Filip Kostelka, Gary Marks, Gijs Schumacher, Marco Steenbergen, Milada Vachudova, Marko Zilovic (2017). Explaining the Salience of Anti-Elitism and Reducing Political Corruption for Political Parties in Europe with the 2014 Chapel Hill Expert Survey Data. Research & Politics 4(1): 1–9.

Read article / Replication material (please contact Jonathan Polk) / Blog
Gijs Schumacher & Kees van Kersbergen (2016). Do mainstream parties adapt to the welfare chauvinism of populist parties? Party Politics, 22, 3.

Read Article / Replication Material
Bert Bakker, Matthijs Rooduijn, and Gijs Schumacher (2016). “The Populist Personality.” In The Science of Trump. Explaining the Rise of an Unlikely Candidate, eds. John Sides and Henry Farrell. The Monkey Cage.

Read chapter
Bert Bakker, Matthijs Rooduijn, & Gijs Schumacher (2016). The Psychological Roots of Populist Voting: Evidence from the United States, the Netherlands and Germany. European Journal of Political Research, 55, 2.

Read Article / Appendix / Replication Material / Blog
Bert Bakker, Robert Klemmensen, Asbjørn Nørgaard & Gijs Schumacher (2016). Stay Loyal or Exit the Party? How Openness to Experience and Extraversion Explain Vote Switching. Political Psychology, 37, 3.

Read Article / Appendix / Replication Material / Blog
Gijs Schumacher & Matthijs Rooduijn (2013). Sympathy for the 'Devil'? Voting for Populists in the 2006 and 2010 Dutch General Elections. Electoral Studies, 32, 1.

Read article / Appendix / Replication Material