In 2015, so-called double (i.e., presidential and parliamentary) elections were held in Poland. The unquestionable winner of these elections was Law and Justice [Prawo i Sprawiedliwość], using slogans such as “good change” or “we’ll make it” in the campaign. The leitmotif of this campaign was discrediting any activities, including achievements, of the Civic Platform [Platforma Obywatelska] / Polish Peasant Party [Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe] coalition, addressing a “simple man” or the nation, and pointing out the need to involve the state institutions to implement the “good change” in favor of the “simple man”. Thus, Law and Justice adopted the anti-elitist position, pointing to the “pathologies of democracy in Poland”, mainly caused by the rule of the Liberals. Initiating the populist style of thinking was one of the reasons for the party’s success. This was an interesting research problem for us, especially that Law and Justice gained the trust of many young voters, aged 18–24.
The success of Kukiz’15 Election Committee, based on the third place achieved by musician Paweł Kukiz in the presidential election, was also very significant for our research questions. It was fascinating because Kukiz’15 Electoral Committee, apart from the popular slogan about the need to establish single-member electoral districts (JOW) and anti-elitist approach, did not offer the voters any vision of socio-political order in terms of ideology or programme. Still, it managed to persuade citizens to vote for Kukiz’15 in the parliamentary election.
These premises led to a research problem concerning the analysis of anxiety determinants that contributed to the positive reaction of voters, especially young ones, to the populist elements of the electoral campaign. Obviously, the fact that so-called soft populism is an inherent characteristic of all electoral campaigns was taken into account. Furthermore, we took into consideration the widespread occurrence of populist slogans in virtually all political programmes. Still, some questions remained unanswered, and the aim of the present study was to answer them. The primary question to answer is about the degree to which individual anxiety dispositions influence the development of populist attitudes among young people. Another important question is whether these are strong populist attitudes or just populist tendencies. The research results presented below are exploratory in character: this is only an introduction to further search for the answers to the above-mentioned questions.