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What do “the People” want? Online Populism in Europe and the US

The web-tracking is scheduled for February, 2019.

This project aims to get insights from observational behavioral data from web-tracking peoples' media diets. The tracking component, to which we will have access for 12 months, provides a direct measurement of the online behaviour of respondents through a passive collection of websites visited (URLs).

The websites visited by respondents reveal evolving private preferences in seeking populist content that respondents may not reveal in a survey due to social desirability bias. For instance, one of the few studies employing such a research design recently shed light on the consumption of so-called ‘fake news’ in the last U.S. presidential election.

We contribute to the methodological literature on the validity of self-reports by contrasting widely used items measuring populism to the actual self-selected exposure to populist contents. In sum, our approach combines the advantages of traditional survey methodology and the emerging field of computational social science (CSS).