Existential threats of immigration and terrorism predict voting for Brexit and Trump

Blanchard, A., Dunn, T.J. and Kibowski, K. (2020) Existential threats of immigration and terrorism predict voting for Brexit and Trump. Evolutionary Psychological Science. ISSN 2198-9885

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Abstract

2016 witnessed historic political change with the ascension to power of Donald Trump and the UK’s vote to leave the European Union (i.e., Brexit). Research has sought to explain these once-deemed unlikely events, yet an evolutionary theoretical account remains unexplored. From a life-history perspective, a rise in existential threat, potentially caused by increased media coverage of the War in Syria and immigration issues, may have prompted a shift to a faster life-history strategy (LHS)/pace of life syndrome (POLS). Immediate answers were sought despite long-term consequences. In this multiple study paper, we shed light on this thesis. Firstly, in establishing a perceived increase in existential threats between 2014 and 2016. Secondly, by examining if LHS/POLS and associated proxies, as well as fear of terrorism and immigration predicted voting for Brexit or Trump. Trump voters feared terrorism, and Brexit voters feared immigration, but LHS/POLS was not directly, nor ultimately influential in their vote choice, however, for those that did not vote, it was. Nevertheless, other life-history proxies were important factors in voting. Thus, the link between LHS/POLS and voting is complex but affords new insight into voter psychology during the EU referendum and US presidential election.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: School of Social Science
Depositing User: Stephen Macdonald
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2020 14:21
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2020 14:21
URI: http://bgro.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/756

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