The Power of the Past. How Nostalgia Shapes European Public Opinion

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Publication Date February 2018
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Nostalgia is a powerful political tool. References to a better past are skillfully employed by populist political entrepreneurs to fuel dissatisfaction with present-day politics and anxiety about the future. But we know little about who is most receptive to those messages evoking a halcyon, bygone era. What share of the European public is nostalgic about the past, and what kind of political solutions does it prefer? In this report, we provide an in-depth look into Europeans’ feelings of nostalgia and how they affect views about politics today. Our empirical evidence is based on a representative survey conducted in July 2018 in which 10,885 EU citizens participated.

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