Does Extreme Political Ideology Predict Conspiracy Beliefs, Economic Evaluations and Political Trust? Evidence From Sweden


  • Andre Krouwel
  • Yordan Kutiyski
  • Jan-Willem van Prooijen
  • Johan Martinsson
  • Elias Markstedt


A large volume of academic research has demonstrated that individuals who profess radical political ideology, both left- and right-wing, tend to share similar underlying psychological patterns. By utilizing data collected through a voting advice application in Sweden, this study aims to assess whether extreme leftists and rightists share similarities in the psychological and political understanding of how society functions. We propose three hypotheses to test this pattern: Extreme left and right individuals are more inclined to believe in conspiracy theories than moderates; they are more likely to have negative economic evaluations; and they are less politically and interpersonally trustful. By means of hierarchical regression analyses, we reveal a quadratic relationship between extreme political ideology and conspiracy beliefs. Moreover, we find a similar linkage between ideology and economic evaluations. However, the empirical analyses fail to provide evidence that extreme ideology is related to lower political and interpersonal trust.