Tabloid news, anti-immigration attitudes, and support for right-wing populist parties

Trevor Diehl, Ramona Vonbun-Feldbauer, Matthew Barnidge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study examines the role of individuals’ media diets in contributing to the growing support for right-wing populist parties. Drawing on social identity theory and the notion of populism as political communication, this study argues that socio-economic status and tabloid news use explain support for right-wing candidates through heightened out-group hostility. Using survey data from the Austrian National Election Study (N = 1161), we present a process model in the structural equation modeling framework, and we compare the direct and indirect effects of attention to tabloid versus broadsheet news on the probability to vote for the Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs. Results show that the link between social status and support for right-wing populism is mediated by attention to tabloid news and anti-immigration attitudes. Implications for democratic norms are discussed in light of the overlap between news media and politicians in their use of populist narratives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-18
Number of pages16
JournalCommunication and the Public
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Anti-immigration
  • media populism
  • populist parties
  • social identity theory
  • tabloids


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