The impact of policy content and party label on policy agreement and candidate support. An analysis on the issue of the integration of immigrants.

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Abstract

There is an ongoing debate in the public opinion and voting behaviour literature on whether policy content or party cues determine voters’ opinions and electoral behaviour. This study focuses on the issue of the integration of immigrants, and assesses to what extent the policy content and a radical right party label relate to voters’ likelihood of agreeing with the policy and of voting for the candidate introducing the policy. The analysis, using experimental video data with hypothetical political candidates embedded in a representative Dutch survey (LISS) (N = 3249), reveals that the influence of the radical right label is limited. It only negatively affects the likelihood of supporting a candidate and agreeing with the policy among voters who do not support a mainstream right or radical right party. The content of the policy plays a major role. In particular, a radical right compared with mainstream right policy towards the integration of immigrants decreases the likelihood of agreeing with the policy and supporting the candidate presenting such a policy among non-radical right voters. Radical right voters are substantially more likely to agree with a restrictive migration policy and to support a candidate presenting such a policy than voters of all other parties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-203
Number of pages20
JournalActa Politica
Volume53
Issue number2
Early online date6 Apr 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2018

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