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      A Populist Paradox? How Brexit Softened Anti-Immigrant Attitudes

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          Recent political contests across Europe and North America have been propelled by a wave of populist, anti-immigrant resentment, and it was widely expected that these populist victories would further fan the flames of xenophobia. This article reports the results of an experiment around the Brexit referendum, designed to test how populist victories shape anti-immigrant attitudes. The study finds that anti-immigrant attitudes actually softened after the Brexit referendum, among both Leave and Remain supporters, and these effects persisted for several months. How could a right-wing, populist victory soften anti-immigrant attitudes? The authors use causal mediation analysis to understand this ‘populist paradox’. Among Leavers, a greater sense of control over immigration channelled the effects of the Brexit outcome onto anti-immigrant attitudes. Individuals' efforts to distance themselves from accusations of xenophobia and racism explains the softening of attitudes towards immigration observed among both Leavers and Remainers.

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          On the automatic activation of attitudes.

          We hypothesized that attitudes characterized by a strong association between the attitude object and an evaluation of that object are capable of being activated from memory automatically upon mere presentation of the attitude object. We used a priming procedure to examine the extent to which the mere presentation of an attitude object would facilitate the latency with which subjects could indicate whether a subsequently presented target adjective had a positive or a negative connotation. Across three experiments, facilitation was observed on trials involving evaluatively congruent primes (attitude objects) and targets, provided that the attitude object possessed a strong evaluative association. In Experiments 1 and 2, preexperimentally strong and weak associations were identified via a measurement procedure. In Experiment 3, the strength of the object-evaluation association was manipulated. The results indicated that attitudes can be automatically activated and that the strength of the object-evaluation association determines the likelihood of such automatic activation. The implications of these findings for a variety of issues regarding attitudes--including their functional value, stability, effects on later behavior, and measurement--are discussed.
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            A general approach to causal mediation analysis.

            Traditionally in the social sciences, causal mediation analysis has been formulated, understood, and implemented within the framework of linear structural equation models. We argue and demonstrate that this is problematic for 3 reasons: the lack of a general definition of causal mediation effects independent of a particular statistical model, the inability to specify the key identification assumption, and the difficulty of extending the framework to nonlinear models. In this article, we propose an alternative approach that overcomes these limitations. Our approach is general because it offers the definition, identification, estimation, and sensitivity analysis of causal mediation effects without reference to any specific statistical model. Further, our approach explicitly links these 4 elements closely together within a single framework. As a result, the proposed framework can accommodate linear and nonlinear relationships, parametric and nonparametric models, continuous and discrete mediators, and various types of outcome variables. The general definition and identification result also allow us to develop sensitivity analysis in the context of commonly used models, which enables applied researchers to formally assess the robustness of their empirical conclusions to violations of the key assumption. We illustrate our approach by applying it to the Job Search Intervention Study. We also offer easy-to-use software that implements all our proposed methods. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved.
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              Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe

              Cas Mudde (2007)

                Author and article information

                British Journal of Political Science
                Brit. J. Polit. Sci.
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                May 04 2020
                : 1-21
                © 2020




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