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Çarkoğlu, Ali, and Ezgi Elçi. “Populist attitudes and challenges towards liberal democracy: An empirical assessment of the Turkish case.” International Political Science Review (2022): 01925121221119297.


The rise of populism presents a challenge to liberal democracy in various countries. This article questions how populist attitudes affect the democratic preferences of the electorate. Using representative survey data fielded from Turkey in 2019, we first tested the effect of populist attitudes on illiberal democratic attitudes. The results show the negative impact of populism on support for illiberal democratic attitudes. Next, we analyzed which dimension of populism correlates with illiberal democratic preferences. Our results pointed to the negative influence of the Manichean outlook on preferences concerning democracy. Contrary to expectations, as anti-elitist and people-centric attitudes increase, support for illiberal democracy decreases. Hence, the relative emphasis on different dimensions of populism is likely to shape the net balance of its influence on democracy. Electoral alliance preferences also shape democracy preferences. The ruling People’s Alliance voters are more supportive of illiberal democracy than the opposition blocs and parties.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.