social sciences

Which political candidate do people vote for?

With the recent developments in media, politicians are under scrutiny now more than ever. Media makes it possible to reach a wider audience and inform them on political candidates running for office. Because of this, one might argue that voting behaviors have changed. We have so much more information to consider when picking a candidate to vote for. The existence of television makes it possible for voters to consider the charisma and personality that candidates are now able to convey. Because of this, it has been pointed out that voters care more about politicians’ personalities. However, Hayes (2009) found that there is no difference in the importance of personality, compared to when there was no TV. Personality is certainly imperative, though it has not become more important with the emergence of new forms of media.

Gender
Unfortunately, most of the world leaders are still men. While it can definitely be stated that women still have less opportunities when it comes to participating in elections, gender bias in voting still facilitates men. When people have to evaluate candidates based on competence and dominance, men are more likely to be judged positively in this regard (Chiao, Bowman, & Gill, 2008). The same researchers also found that men were more likely to be voted for if they appeared approachable, whereas for female candidates, attractiveness played a major role.

Appearance
Previous research has found that people infer personality characteristics from faces. These cues are also used in judging political candidates. For instance, when it comes to competence, the following facial features are positively regarded: “Faces became less round, the distance between the eyebrows and the eyes decreased, the cheekbones were higher, and the jaws became more angular”. Perceived facial competence is correlated with with election outcomes (Olivola, & Todorov, 2010).

Voice pitch
Using an experimental design, researchers found that people favored men with a lower voice pitch in a political setting. These men were perceived to be more dominant and attractive, which are considered positive traits for a politician. Furthermore, the favoritism of lower pitched increased if a candidate were to be selected in times of war. In this scenario, dominance becomes even more crucial to voters (Tigue, Borak, O’Connor, Schandl, & Feinberg, 2012).

Stereotypes
In low-information settings, when the voter does not have substantive information, they might rely on other cues. For instance, they will consider stereotypes associated with outward appearance, such as skin color or gender. Women and African-Americans are more likely to be stereotyped than white (liberal) males. African-Americans were perceived to be more involved in minority issues, while women were considered to be concerned with honest government. (McDermott, 1998).

Candidate identification
Researchers found through a simulated mayoral election that voters preferred candidates they shared characteristics with. Women were more likely to vote for female candidates, African-Americans are more likely to African-American candidates, white males were more likely to vote for white, male candidates. They also found that ageism played a bigger role than sexism or racism (Sigelman, & Sigelman, 1982).

Personality
By looking at the personality traits of voters, researchers found that these have an indirect effect on voting behavior. Using the Big Five personality traits, they found that scoring high on certain traits meant they were more likely to vote for ideologies associated with these. Openness was linked with social liberalism, neuroticism was associated with political parties that protect against material and cultural challenges, and lastly, high agreeableness and low conscientiousness led to being more likely to vote for economic or social liberalism (Schoen, & Schumann, 2007).

Chiao, J. Y., Bowman, N. E., & Gill, H. (2008). The political gender gap: Gender bias in facial inferences that predict voting behavior. PLoS One3(10), e3666.

Hayes, D. (2009). Has television personalized voting behavior?. Political Behavior31(2), 231-260.

McDermott, M. L. (1998). Race and gender cues in low-information elections. Political Research Quarterly51(4), 895-918.

Olivola, C. Y., & Todorov, A. (2010). Elected in 100 milliseconds: Appearance-based trait inferences and voting. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior34(2), 83-110.

Schoen, H., & Schumann, S. (2007). Personality traits, partisan attitudes, and voting behavior. Evidence from Germany. Political psychology28(4), 471-498.

Sigelman, L., & Sigelman, C. K. (1982). Sexism, racism, and ageism in voting behavior: An experimental analysis. Social Psychology Quarterly, 263-269.

Tigue, C. C., Borak, D. J., O’Connor, J. J., Schandl, C., & Feinberg, D. R. (2012). Voice pitch influences voting behavior. Evolution and Human Behavior33(3), 210-216.

social sciences

Rise of the Right (Conclusion)

I wrote a paper on this topic as part of a course during my Bachelor in psychology. It has been divided into 4 different posts, links can be found at the bottom of this article.

The factors that seem to have spiked the rise in popularity for right-wing according to previous research: (1) prosperity in a country, (2) socio-economic deprivation, (3) instilling fear through framing in the media by the right, (4) distrusting the current political system, (5) economic and cultural concerns over immigration, and (6) Euroscepticism (summarized in figure 1, see appendix).

In terms of (1) prosperity, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands are all among the highest in regards to GDP per capita (Eurostat, 2016). In all of these three countries right-wing politicians are gaining more popularity, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, Norbert Hofer in Austria, and  Frauke Petry in Germany. These occurrences fit with results found by Lucassen et al (2012), as explained earlier, countries high in prosperity could view immigrants as a threat. Because they perceive the newcomers to possibly change the situation from which they currently benefit. Though prosperity on country-level has been linked to far-right preferences, Werts et al (2012) looked at individual (2) socio-economic deprivation. These researchers have also found a link between right-wing voting behavior and this particular deprivation.

Moreover, a factor that has influenced the surge in popularity for right-wing parties is (3) media framing, as implied by Yılmaz (2012). The major issues used in their framing techniques seem to be immigration and Euroscepticism. Nigel Farage of the right-wing United Kingdom Independent Party’s (UKIP) caused an uproar in the media by unveiling a poster that displays a stream non-white immigrants. The poster has two different slogans on it: ‘Breaking point: the EU has failed us all’ and ‘we must break free from the EU and take back our country’. So both aforementioned issues are being conveyed through the poster.

A prime example of (4) distrusting the current political system would be the sudden advocation of anti-establishment ideas. These views were shared by Donald Trump in his campaign for presidency in the USA during 2015 and 2016. At a rally in Virginia he expressed the following sentiment: “we are going to replace our failed and corrupt establishment with a new government that serves you, your family, and your country”. However, the same anti-establishment rhetoric is gaining ground in Europe. In particular, a movement in Italy referred to as Movimento 5 Stelle (Five Star Movement), who claim to be anti-establishment.

One of the attributes all articles seem to mention is (5) the fear of immigrants coming to Europe. With the wars going on in Syria, the amount of immigrants applying for asylum in Europe has increased over the last years (Asylum Statistics, 2016). There have been protests by the far-right in several European countries over refugee shelters (Huggler, 2016), which have turned into violent crashes. UKIP’s previous leader, Nigel Farage, has publicly indicated that he does not agree with the UK’s current immigration policies, in a speech during his party’s conference he stated: “this gets to the heart of the immigration policy that UKIP wants, we should not welcome foreign criminal gangs and we must deport those who have committed offences”.

Lastly, (6) Euroscepticism has not been going unnoticed after the referendum on ‘Brexit’ take took place June 23rd, 2016.  On this day Great Britain decided that it would rather leave the European Union (EU) than remain. Other politicians from different EU member states have expressed their concern, discussing the possibility of revoking their membership. For instance, far-right politician Geert Wilders of the Partij van de Vrijheid (Freedom party) has called for a referendum in the Netherlands to leave the EU (Reuters, 2016). In an interview he explained his reasoning behind this statement: “we want be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy”.

Taking all of the aforementioned research into consideration, it can be argued that several factors can contribute to a surge in support for right-wing parties in Europe. It is of importance to figure out what causes people to vote for a certain political ideology. It is not my place to argue which ideology is better, however it is essential to be aware of the support for political ideologies within a society. And extremism on both sides of the left-right spectrum could lead to divisions, which may not be beneficial to have a functioning society. To mention a contemporary example, after the 2016 United States Presidential Elections, the amount of verbal and physical attacks increased, targeting specific groups (Dearden, 2016), which seems to create a gaps between those groups. And in Europe, with Brexit as a starting point, it seems that more political parties are become unsatisfied with the unification through the European Union. Therefore it is crucial that all political parties, activists, and supporters stay in dialogue with one another, and not settle it through physical or verbal harassment. This means being aware of standpoints of each political division, and the implications of the policies they advocate.

I wrote a paper on this topic as part of a course during my Bachelor in psychology. It has been divided into 4 different posts.
Introduction
Part 1: What could have triggered the rise in popularity for right-wing parties in Europe?
Part 2: What could have triggered the rise in popularity for right-wing parties in Europe?
Concluding Remarks

Angouri and Wodak (2014). ‘They became big in the shadow of the crisis’ The Greek success story and the rise of the far right. Discourse & Society, 25(4), 540-565.

Asylum Statistics. (2016, April 20). Retrieved December 8, 2016, from Eurotstat, http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Asylum_statistics

Carmines, E. G., & D’Amico, N. J. (2015). The new look in political ideology research. Annual Review of Political Science, 18, 205-216.

Davis, L., & Deole, S. S. (2015). Immigration, Attitudes and the Rise of the Political Right: The Role of Cultural and Economic Concerns over Immigration. Available at SSRN.

Dearden, L. (2016). Donald Trump’s victory followed by wave of hate crime attacks against minorities across US – led by his supporters. Retrieved December 18, 2016, from Independent, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-elections/donald-trump-president-supporters-attack-muslims-hijab-hispanics-lgbt-hate-crime-wave-us-election-a7410166.html

Eurostat (2016). GDP per capita, consumption per capita and price level indices. Retrieved from December 15, 2016, from Eurostat, http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/GDP_per_capita,_consumption_per_capita_and_price_level_indices

Giuliano, P., & Spilimbergo, A. (2014). Growing up in a Recession. The Review of Economic Studies, 81(2), 787-817.

Graham, J., Haidt, J., Koleva, S., Motyl, M., Iyer, R., Wojcik, S. P., & Ditto, P. H. (2012). Moral foundations theory: The pragmatic validity of moral pluralism. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Forthcoming.

Haidt, J., Graham, J., & Joseph, C. (2009). Above and below left–right: Ideological narratives and moral foundations. Psychological Inquiry, 20, 110-119.

Huggler, J. (2016). Violent clashes break out between asylum seekers and far-Right protesters in eastern Germany. Retrieved December 14, 2016, from Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/15/violent-clashes-break-out-between-asylum-seekers-and-far-right-p/

Jost, J. T., Glaser, J., Kruglanski, A. W., & Sulloway, F. J. (2003). Political conservatism as motivated social cognition. Psychological bulletin, 129(3), 339.

Kiess, J., Brähler, E., Schmutzer, G., & Decker, O. (2016). Euroscepticism and Right-wing Extremist Attitudes in Germany: A Result of the ‘Dialectic Nature of Progress’?. German Politics, 1-20.

Lall, M. & Sharma, S.  (2009). Personal growth and training and development. New Dehli: Excel Books.

Lucassen, G., & Lubbers, M. (2012). Who fears what? Explaining far-right-wing preference in Europe by distinguishing perceived cultural and economic ethnic threats. Comparative Political Studies, 45(5), 547-574.

Reuters. (2016). Dutch anti-immigration leader Wilders calls for Dutch referendum on EU membership. Retrieved December 14, 2016, from Reuters, http://www.reuters.com /article/us-britain-eu-wilders-idUSKCN0ZA0HO

Stewart, H., & Mason, R. (2016). Nigel Farage’s anti-migrant poster reported to police. Retrieved december 15, 2016, from The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/16/nigel-farage-defends-ukip-breaking-poster-queue-of-migrants

Werts, H., Scheepers, P., & Lubbers, M. (2012). Euro-scepticism and radical right-wing voting in Europe, 2002–2008: Social cleavages, socio-political attitudes and contextual characteristics determining voting for the radical right. European Union Politics, 1465116512469287.

Yılmaz, F. (2012). Right-wing hegemony and immigration: How the populist far-right achieved hegemony through the immigration debate in Europe. Current sociology, 60(3), 368-381.

social sciences

Rise of the Right (Part 2)

I wrote a paper on this topic as part of a course during my Bachelor in psychology. It has been divided into 4 different posts, links can be found at the bottom of this article.

Angouri and Wodak (2014) looked at the sudden emergence of a far-right political in Greece, the Golden Dawn party. In their research they studied online users’ comments on a news website, The Guardian. Through the analysis of these comments they uncovered what people attributed to the rise of this far-right political party. These researchers found that people mainly blamed the entire political system in Greece. The most mentioned institutes who were to blame seemed to be the IMF and the EU. And often people pointed out that the financial crises, immigrants, and corrupt political leaders were to blame as well. A small portion of users also attributed the rise in popularity of the Golden Dawn to the left. The added value of this particular study is to take people’s perceptions into consideration, to find out what people seem to label as to blame for the rise of the far-right. However the comments that were used in the analysis might have been a vastly specific sample, since it is unclear what triggers people to leave a comment on news site. It is likely that not everyone leaves their opinions in the comment sections, which lamentably results in a selective sample.

Other factors may also indirectly influence the growth of support for right-wing parties. These are concerns over economic and cultural factors, associated with immigration. Davis and Deole (2015) looked at the alignment hypothesis which proposes that cultural and economic factors are detrimental to concern about the impact of these factors related to immigration. The concerns over these factors are linked to right-wing ideology and actual right-wing voting behavior. Four different determinants have found to affect economic concerns in terms of immigration. These concerns are more prevalent in countries with a higher unemployment rate, with lower Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, less diversity in religion, and cultures that tend to be more collectivistic. So it could be argued that the aforementioned situational factors determine the attitudes toward immigration and in turn spark right-wing voting behavior.

Another factor that might have contributed to the rise of  popularity of right wing ideologies is that people do not feel part of the integration process in Europe. And as a result they will hold views that can be considered anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic. Kiess, Brähler, Schmutzer, and Decker (2016) looked at right-wing attitudes in Germany. These researchers found that those with lower occupational status experience less connection to the integration process with Europe. People with this status included skilled workers and leg workers, they were more likely to support right wing ideologies. These groups are also more likely to scapegoat, putting the blame on others in terms of anti-semitism and anti-immigrant ideas. The same researchers also found a correlation between right-wing extremism and Euroscepticism.

I wrote a paper on this topic as part of a course during my Bachelor in psychology. It has been divided into 4 different posts.
Introduction
Part 1: What could have triggered the rise in popularity for right-wing parties in Europe?
Part 2: What could have triggered the rise in popularity for right-wing parties in Europe?
Concluding Remarks

Angouri and Wodak (2014). ‘They became big in the shadow of the crisis’ The Greek success story and the rise of the far right. Discourse & Society, 25(4), 540-565.

Davis, L., & Deole, S. S. (2015). Immigration, Attitudes and the Rise of the Political Right: The Role of Cultural and Economic Concerns over Immigration. Available at SSRN.

Kiess, J., Brähler, E., Schmutzer, G., & Decker, O. (2016). Euroscepticism and Right-wing Extremist Attitudes in Germany: A Result of the ‘Dialectic Nature of Progress’?. German Politics, 1-20.

social sciences

Rise of the Right (Part 1)

I wrote a paper on this topic as part of a course during my Bachelor in psychology. It has been divided into 4 different posts, links can be found at the bottom of this article.


What could have triggered the rise in popularity for right-wing parties in Europe?

Lucassen and Lubbers (2012) analyzed data from the European Social Survey (ESS) to look at far right voting preferences. First of all, they found that the proportion of the population with a Muslim background in a country, in Europe, did not influence far-right preferences. Second, technocrats experience heightened perceptions of cultural ethnic threat, compared to sociocultural specialists, which results in a higher probability of right-wing voting behavior. In this case technocrats being those with technological knowledge and sociocultural specialists depend on specialized knowledge. In countries with a higher GDP, this fear exists as well, they experience concern over losing acquired wealth. Therefore they are more likely to vote far right, in hopes of keeping the status quo. Unfortunately, this study only had 11 European countries in their analysis. However using GDP to measure a legitimate way to operationalize and measure prosperity.

Werts, Scheepers, and Lubbers (2012) used data from the ESS to look at right-wing voting behavior. Instead of looking economic prosperity this study took the opposite into consideration, socio-economic deprivation. Carrying out a multilevel regression analysis on the data, they found that those experiencing socio-economic deprivation have a higher probability of voting for right-wing parties, due to political distrust. The authors did however, not find an increase in Euroscepticism between 2002 and 2008. Although they speculated that because the economic crises associated with the Euro, this might change. And more countries have become weary of a European unification, which has ultimately led to the winning vote of the Brexit in Great Britain. Furthermore, right-wing parties, such as Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV) in the Netherlands, have publicly voiced Eurosceptic views in the media (Reuters, 2016).

Yılmaz (2012) argues that the popularity of right-wing parties has been increasing since the eighties, and that they have been using anti-immigration rhetoric as their propaganda. The author points out that the emphasis of sharing a common vision and using ‘we’ has created a gap between immigrants and natives. This has caused a hegemonic shift, in which the right supports ‘national identity’. According to Yılmaz, the often re-established link between Islam and terrorism has helped the anti-immigration propaganda. He also points out that the use of language has changed people’s positions on immigration. Religion, Islam in this case, has been made salient and associated with immigrants in turn. Furthermore he argues that Europe has been familiar with conflicts between groups of people for a long time, however these were based on class and identity. And now these social divisions are build on perceived cultural differences. And the populist right has managed to make use of this through framing in media and instilling fear in people by emphasizing cultural differences that are supposedly detrimental to ‘people’s ways of life’. Although Yilmaz (2012) gives a thorough scrutiny of what has contributed to the rise of the right, it would have been interesting to see an actual experiment, to test whether salience of stereotypes leads to more right-wing views.

I wrote a paper on this topic as part of a course during my Bachelor in psychology. It has been divided into 4 different posts.
Introduction
Part 1: What could have triggered the rise in popularity for right-wing parties in Europe?
Part 2: What could have triggered the rise in popularity for right-wing parties in Europe?
Concluding Remarks

Lucassen, G., & Lubbers, M. (2012). Who fears what? Explaining far-right-wing preference in

Europe by distinguishing perceived cultural and economic ethnic threats. Comparative Political

Studies, 45(5), 547-574.

Reuters. (2016). Dutch anti-immigration leader Wilders calls for Dutch referendum on EU

membership. Retrieved December 14, 2016, from Reuters, http://www.reuters.com /article/us

britain-eu-wilders-idUSKCN0ZA0HO

Werts, H., Scheepers, P., & Lubbers, M. (2012). Euro-scepticism and radical right-wing voting in

Europe, 2002–2008: Social cleavages, socio-political attitudes and contextual characteristics

determining voting for the radical right. European Union Politics, 1465116512469287.

Yılmaz, F. (2012). Right-wing hegemony and immigration: How the populist far-right achieved

hegemony through the immigration debate in Europe. Current sociology, 60(3), 368-381.

 

social sciences

Rise of the Right (Introduction)

I wrote a paper on this topic as part of a course during my Bachelor in psychology. It has been divided into 4 different posts, links can be found at the bottom of this article.

When it comes to the division in politics according to the right and left wing, the popularity for either of these two seems to follow a continuous cycle. However, the constant phase shifts in this cycle are not entirely clear, and sometimes difficult to determine. Generally speaking, leftist views include ideas related to liberalism and right wing voters are more likely to support conservative ideas. According to Carmines and D’amico (2015), liberals are more likely to be in favor of redistribution within society through social services, and they are also more supportive of progressive ideas. Whereas right wing supporters tend to be more conservative and hold more traditional views, this also includes that the government intervention should stay minimum.

There are different theories on what shapes people’s political views, these include: life events, values people hold, and dispositions. First of all, in terms of life events, it has been found that individuals who experienced a type of economic crisis (e.g. a recession) are more likely to hold leftist views (Giuliano & Spilimbergo, 2014). Therefore, from this finding, one could argue that life events could influence people’s political views.

Second, in regard to values, Graham et al (2012) developed five different values that can be attributed to both political ideologies, fairness, harm, authority, loyalty, and purity. Liberal ideologues tend to find fairness and caring for others of importance, while conservative views relied on all five values, care, authority, fairness, loyalty, and purity. Nevertheless, how these values are interpreted is different for both sides. Right wing supporters, or conservatives, see fairness as not breaking the law, but they are less bothered by the equability (Haidt, Graham, Joseph, 2009).

Third, apart from the life events people endured or the fundamental values they hold, there are more important dimension to how people’s political beliefs could be shaped. Research has found that certain aspects of disposition could ultimately influence people’s stances on important issues. For instance, it has been found conservatism is linked to intolerance to ambiguity and heightened perception of a dangerous world (Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski, Sulloway, 2013). The same study found right-wing authoritarianism to be negatively correlated to openness to experience. Those who score high on openness to experience might be more interested in learning about new cultures (Lall & Sharma, 2009). Thus an individual’s disposition can be a factor in their political views.

Largely, there seems to be a consensus that right-wing politics are gaining ground, with some, more than often, controversial right-wing candidates gaining popularity in a myriad of countries. These include Donald Trump in the United States, Marine Le Pen in France, Norbert Hofer in Austria, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, and Frauke Petry in Germany. Among these right-wing politicians there seems to be at least one similarity, and that is their stance on immigration policies. Aside from the three dimensions mentioned that could influence people’s left or right wing preferences, there could be other underlying processes that sparked new popularity for right-wing parties. What could have triggered the rise in popularity for right-wing parties? In this review, recent research will be explored to find answers to the aforementioned question.

I wrote a paper on this topic as part of a course during my Bachelor in psychology. It has been divided into 4 different posts.
Introduction
Part 1: What could have triggered the rise in popularity for right-wing parties in Europe?
Part 2: What could have triggered the rise in popularity for right-wing parties in Europe?
Concluding Remarks

Carmines, E. G., & D’Amico, N. J. (2015). The new look in political ideology research. Annual Review of Political Science, 18, 205-216.

Giuliano, P., & Spilimbergo, A. (2014). Growing up in a Recession. The Review of Economic Studies, 81(2), 787-817.

Graham, J., Haidt, J., Koleva, S., Motyl, M., Iyer, R., Wojcik, S. P., & Ditto, P. H. (2012). Moral foundations theory: The pragmatic validity of moral pluralism. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Forthcoming.

Jost, J. T., Glaser, J., Kruglanski, A. W., & Sulloway, F. J. (2003). Political conservatism as motivated social cognition. Psychological bulletin, 129(3), 339.

Lall, M. & Sharma, S.  (2009). Personal growth and training and development. New Dehli: Excel Books.