The technocratic side of populist attitudes: evidence from the Spanish case Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2023

start page

  • 73

end page

  • 99


  • 1


  • 46

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0140-2382

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1743-9655


  • Populism and technocracy represent a challenge to pluralist party democracies. The first promotes the rule by ‘the people", while the second demands the rule by independent experts. The literature on populism and technocracy as challenges to party democracy is burgeoning. Less is known about citizens" attitudes towards the ideas that underpin both populism and technocracy. In this article these opinions are explored in a survey conducted in Spain using a comprehensive battery of items tapping into technocracy and populism. It is found that populist attitudes correlate with two dimensions of technocracy: anti-politics and pro-expertise sentiments. A latent-class analysis shows that the largest sample group simultaneously endorses rule by the people and the enrolment of experts in political decision making. In the article this group is named technopopulists. The article challenges extant views of populism and technocracy as separate alternatives and spurs works on voter demand for the involvement of experts in politics.


  • Politics
  • Sociology


  • technocracy; populism; party democracy; echnopopulism; latent-class analysis