Student Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Honors Designation


Program of Study

Political Science



First Advisor

Till Weber

Second Advisor

Manoj Illickal

Third Advisor

Gerasimos Karavitis


Under the puzzling circumstances of a strong domestic economy and the relatively stable mainstream policymaking of the incumbents, Law and Justice (PiS), a right-wing populist party, momentously won the 2015 presidential and parliamentary elections in Poland. Using a comparative approach, the thesis examines the structural forces and policy dimensions/goals, which have provided the necessary conditions for the populist right-wing program to appeal to a wide variety of demographic groups, resulting in an electoral victory and to some degree in the redrawing of political and social boundaries. The conducted field study served as a hypothesis-generating exercise to gauge the voter sentiment informally in Poland. Based on the empirical data from a sample comprised of Poland’s seven post-communist democratic counterparts, statistical models depictive of combinations of structural exogenous conditions, as well as policy packages of political parties, were recorded in an effort to capture cross-national similarities and differences, and to shed light on key success factors that systematically contribute to the rise of right-wing populism in modern Eastern Europe. The empirical analysis was supplemented with widely cited scholarship on the topic of populism, populist adaptation, and populist politics.


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