Populism and Facebook: 14 countries, 117 parties and the 2014 European Parliamentary election
Authors: Koc-Michalska, K., Lilleker, D., Gibson, R., Michalski, T. and Zajac, J.
Start date: 2 March 2018
Social media are claimed to boost the development of populism and the use of populist rhetoric and communication styles by political parties. The technological affordances seem to be a perfect place to communicate using a more informal style, employing emotional arguments that are not always suitable for more traditional campaigning. In this research project we concentrate on posts (3500, random sample) by political parties on their Facebook profiles during 2014 EP election campaign. By applying the coding schema on different standard post features (e.g. topic, target, emotions) as well as populism codes (e.g. xenophobic language, uncivil behavior, attacking elites, popular representation, symbols) we demonstrate to what extent parties employed populist communication styles. We further cross reference our data with the data from the Chapel Hill expert study, European Social Survey to understand to what extent the ideological party positioning is correlated with the communication strategy employed by party.