Project Project
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Attitudes towards immigrants and party choice in Switzerland

Project Management
Swiss Electoral Study, Swiss National Science Foundation
Eva Green (University of Lausanne)

Theoretical background and objectives

This project proposes to study the interplay between the mobilisation of immigration issues by right-wing populists, attitudes towards immigrants and voting choices. Given the increasing importance of immigration issues among the electorate and right-wing populist parties and more generally in public debates in Switzerland, we aim at investigating five questions: (1) How important are immigration issues for the political elite, on the one hand, and ordinary citizens, on the other hand? Is there a gap between these two groups and does this constitute a potential for right-wing mobilisation?; (2) How do positions on immigration issues influence voting choices?; (3) How does the political mobilisation of immigration issues by right-wing populist parties influence attitudes towards these issues?; (4) What is the impact of various aspects of immigration attitudes on voting choices and the mobilisation of the electorate (e.g., Muslim migrants and their cultural practices, highly-skilled German migrants)?; (5) What are the individual- and societal-level processes underlying the relationship between right-wing mobilisation, attitudes towards immigrants and voting choices? Within the MIT research programme this project investigates the interrelationship between attitudes and perceptions of immigrants, on the one hand, and political mobilisation, on the other hand.

Research design, data and methodology

The project will be based on original data drawn from the 2011 Swiss Electoral Study. We will mainly use questions that we integrate into the survey and that measure attitudes towards various immigration groups and their cultural practices. Additional context data will be collected at the cantonal level for multi-level analyses.