In one of its latest reports, The power of the past – How nostalgia shapes European public opinion, the Bertelsmann foundation analysed the European electoral landscape through the lenses of the concept of “nostalgia”. Far from being a sentiment concerning the individuals only, nostalgia is a “political tool” as well, the report explains.
Researchers argue that both leaders on the far-right and far-left, such as Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, Sarah Wagenknecht and Bernie Sanders “exploited feelings of nostalgia” to increase their electoral bases.
The analysis therefore investigates:
- Who are nostalgic persons across Europe?
- Where do nostalgic people place themselves on a left-right political spectrum?
- What do nostalgic electorates support in terms of policy options?
The results of the report are based on a representative survey conducted in July 2018. The datasets provide information about the European Union as a whole, and about the five largest countries in terms of population: France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain. Overall, 10,885 EU citizens were involved in the study.
How did researchers catch the “degree of nostalgia” among interviewees? Respondents were given four options to reply to the single statement: “The world used to be a much better place”. Answer categories included “completely agree”, “agree”, “disagree”, and “completely disagree”. Interviewees opting for one of the first two answers were considered “nostalgic”, and vice-versa.
(Read the full article on European Data Journalism Network)