On SAGE Insight: How do emotions affect public opinion on the European Union?: Fear, anger and enthusiasm about the EU

Article title: Fear, anger and enthusiasm about the European Union: Effects of emotional reactions on public preferences towards European integration

From European Union Politics

How do emotions affect public opinion on the European Union? This article advances existing literature that focuses on cue-taking, utilitarianism and identity by arguing that emotional reactions are important to understanding citizen attitudes towards the European Union . Individuals’ discrete emotions such as anger, fear and enthusiasm affect how they deal with threats, how they form preferences, and how they seek out, process and use information. The analysis also sheds light on the Brexit referendum. The two official campaigns ‘Britain Stronger In Europe’ and ‘Vote Leave’ set the agenda by transforming the debate into a battle between two issues: economy versus immigration. Whereas the rhetoric was negative in both camps, being referred to as ‘Project Fear’ and ‘Project Hate’ respectively by the other side, they each elicited different negative emotions. research that takes into account individuals’ emotions on the EU promises to improve our understanding of how and when people support and oppose European integration.

Abstract

How do emotions affect public opinion on the European Union? This article advances existing literature that focuses on cue-taking, utilitarianism and identity by arguing that emotional reactions are important to understanding citizen attitudes towards the European Union. This is because discrete emotions such as fear, anger and enthusiasm affect how individuals deal with threats and how they seek out, process and use information. We hypothesise that, compared to anxious citizens, those angry with the European Union are more likely to wish to leave the European Union, less receptive to cost–benefit considerations, and less nuanced in their opinions about integration. Our analyses, carried out using a survey conducted in the UK in April 2015, support our hypotheses. These results help us predict the effectiveness of political strategies, e.g. in referendum campaigns.

Read this article for free

Article details
Fear, anger and enthusiasm about the European Union: Effects of emotional reactions
Sofia Vasilopoulou, Markus Wagner
First Published March 29, 2017
DOI: 10.1177/1465116517698048
European Union Politics
 

 

     
This entry was posted in Politics, SAGE Insight and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply