Populism and Informal Fallacies: An Analysis of Right-Wing Populist Rhetoric in Election Campaigns

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Populism is on the rise, especially in Western Europe. While it is often assumed that populist actors have a tendency for fallacious reasoning, this has not been systematically investigated. We analyze the use of informal fallacies by right-wing populist politicians and their representation in the media during election campaigns. We conduct a quantitative content analysis of press releases of right-wing populist parties and news articles in print media during the most recent elections in the United Kingdom and Switzerland in 2015. The results show that fallacies are used in more than a third of all analyzed texts and overwhelmingly co-occur with populist key messages. Moreover, fallacies occur more often in populist parties’ press releases than in news articles and are more common in Switzerland compared to the United Kingdom. This study confirms the argument that populist actors use fallacies in combination with populist claims.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107–136
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2018

External IDs

Scopus 85046904373


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