Analysis reveals 50% of UK population have “authoritarian” political sympathies


New study indicates widespread support for “authoritarian populism” could affect EU vote

Up to 50% of the UK population hold political sympathies that could be described as “authoritarian populism”, say academics and researchers from the University of Exeter.

Authoritarian populist views include supporting a smaller state, opposing immigration, being negative about the EU and human rights but supportive of robust military and foreign policy.

The study claims that such widespread views could have a major impact on the way people vote at the EU referendum in June.

The study team, made up of politics professors David Sanders, Tom Scotto and Jason Reifler, used data from several YouGov surveys carried out between 2011 and 2015.

Professor Scotto said: “People like us academics and the London elite just shrug off concerns about immigration, they shrug off concerns about the decline of Britain as a military power.

“This is where I think some of animosity is coming from and the electorate is saying we count too.”

Meanwhile there are concerns that an “enthusiasm gap” could mean Britain is exposed to an unwanted Brexit, as low turnout is cited as a threat to Britain remaining in the EU, the FT reports.