Research Agenda: Comparative Rightwing Populism


Research in this area undertaken by our researchers on comparative Austrian politics is dedicated to understanding the causes and effects of the rise of radical right-wing populism in Austria, Europe and beyond. Drawing on rigorous empirical studies, our research seeks to explain why citizens support populist, illiberal, and authoritarian policies and vote for parties that offer such an agenda. It also aims to gain a better understanding of the behavior of populist leaders and parties and their lasting effects on democracy, particularly on democratic institutions and their policies. In this context, researchers in comparative Austrian politics have been involved in several major funded research projects and have published multiple monographs and edited volumes as well as numerous articles in leading international journals. Research in this area is also based on several original surveys and survey experiments, which form an important empirical foundation.


Key Publications



  • Heinisch, Reinhard / Aneta Cekikj / Klaudia Koxha (eds.) (2024). Diverse Voices on Populism – New Perspectives from the European “Periphery”, Baden-Baden: Nomos (in production).




Journal Articles


  • Heinisch, Reinhard / Viktoria Jansesberger (2022). Lacking control – analysing the demand side of populist party support, in: European Politics and Society (early view).
  • Heinisch, Reinhard / Steven Saxonberg (2022). Filling the Demand Gap: Explaining the Success of Centrist Entrepreneurial Populism in the Czech Republic, in: Europe-Asia Studies (early view).


  • Heinisch, Reinhard / Viktoria Jansesberger (2021). Does Ethno-Territorial Identity Matter in Populist Party Support? Evidence on the Demand-Side from 19 Populist Radical Right and Populist Radical Left National and Regionalist Parties, in: European Politics and Society (published online 22/09/2021).
  • Heinisch, Reinhard / Duncan McDonnell / Annika Werner (2021). Equivocal Euroscepticism: How populist radical right parties can have their EU cake and eat it, in: Journal of Common Market Studies, 59(2), 189-205.
  • Heinisch, Reinhard / Steven Saxonberg / Annika Werner / Florian Habersack (2021). The Effect of Radical Right Fringe Parties on Main Parties in Central Eastern Europe: Empirical Evidence from Manifesto Data, in: Party Politics, 27(1), 9-21.
  • Miklin, Eric / Martin Dolezal (2021). Positive Side Effects? The Impact of Populist Radical Right Parties in Government on the Media Visibility of the Austrian Parliament, in: Parliamentary Affairs, 74(4), 853-870.


  • Fallend, Franz / Fabian Habersack / Reinhard Heinisch (2020). Rechtspopulismus in Österreich: Zur Entwicklung der FPÖ, in:  Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte: Österreich, 68(34-35), 33-40.
  • Heinisch, Reinhard / Carsten Wegscheider (2020). Populism and Polarization: A Dual Threat to Europe’s Liberal Democracies?, in: Politics and Governance, 8(3), 32-44.
  • Heinisch, Rinhard / Annika Werner / Fabian Habersack (2020). Reclaiming National Sovereignty: The Case of the Conservatives and the Far-Right in Austria, in: European Politics and Society, 21(2), 163-181.


  • Heinisch, Reinhard / Annika Werner (2019). Who do populist radical right parties stand for? Representative claims, claim acceptance and descriptive representation in the Austrian FPÖ and German AfD, in: Representation, 55(4), 475-492.


  • Heinisch, Reinhard / Vanessa Marent (2018). Sub-state territorial claims making by a nationwide radical right-wing populist party: the case of the Austrian Freedom Party, in: Comparative European Politics, 16(6), 1012-1032.
  • Heinisch, Reinhard / Emanuale Massetti / Oscar Mazzoleni (2018). Populism and ethno-territorial politics in European multi-level systems, in: Comparative European Politics, 16(6), 923-936.

Book chapters



  • Fallend, Franz / Fabian Habersack / Reinhard Heinisch (2021). Party Competition in Austria: Between Dismissive and Accommodative Reactions to the FPÖ’s Success Book Actions and Reactions, in: Daniele Albertazzi / Davide Vampa (eds.):  Populism and New Patterns of Political Competition in Western Europe, London: Routledge, 73-92.
  • Heinisch, Reinhard (2021). The Effect of the Resurgent Radical Populist Right on the Main Centre-Left and Centre-Right Parties and their Adaptation Strategies: The Case of Austria, in: Gisela Pereyra Doval / Gastón Souroujon (eds.):  Global Resurgence of the Right: Conceptual and Regional Perspectives, London: Routledge, 138-161.
  • Heinisch, Reinhard / Annika Werner (2021). Austria: Tracing the Austrian Christian Democrats’ Adaptation to the Rise of the Far Right, in: Tim Bale / Cristobal Rovira Kaltwasser (eds.):  Riding the Populist Wave, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 91-113.