The Populist Enigma in Taiwan: The Identification of Taiwan’s Populist Supporters





Published date: 

December, 2022


Ziqian Wang
Yu-Tzung Chang


   Taiwan’s populism has drawn scholarly attention since the 1990s. However, the existence of populism at the mass level in Taiwan lacks rigorous conceptual scrutiny and empirical investigation. In this sense, this article explores two fundamental questions: (1) are there people with populist attitudes (populist voters) in Taiwan; and (2) if there are, which factors contribute to the development of populist attitudes at the individual level in Taiwan? The article conceptualises populism as a multidimensional construct and then proposes an eight-item populist attitudes scale to identify the populist supporters in Taiwan. Then, to profile these populist supporters, we perform a logistic regression analysis based on four hypotheses concerning the economic, cultural and nationalist aspects. The findings suggest that the subjective assessment and perception of the economy, as well as one’s feeling of relative deprivation are significant predictors of an individual’s populist attitudes. Meanwhile, the individual’s objective socio-economic situation and attitudes toward globalisation and nationalism are not relevant in the context of Taiwan.