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Worldview defense and self-determination theory explain the return of racial voting: evidence from the 2016 US election

Citation

Fabian, M and Breunig, R and De Neve, J, Worldview defense and self-determination theory explain the return of racial voting: evidence from the 2016 US election, European Journal of Social Psychology ISSN 0046-2772 (2022) [Refereed Article]

Abstract

We use self-determination and world view defense theories to explicate the psychological roots of identitarian voting in recent US, UK, and EU elections. We test our theory using the 2016 US election as a case study, data from a representative sample of nearly half a million Americans, and a measure of racial animus derived from Google search data. We find that worry has a strong and significant positive association with Trump’s vote share, as predicted by worldview defense theory. However, this is reversed in counties with high levels of relatedness – one of the three basic psychological needs emphasized by self-determination theory. The positive relationship between racial animus and Trump also loses significance once an interaction between racial animus and relatedness is introduced. These results imply that identitarianism is driven at least in part by a desire for in-group affiliation emerging out of worldview defense and unmet basic psychological needs.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:political psychology, Trump, far right populism, basic psychological needs, worldview defence
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Social change
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Fabian, M (Dr Mark Fabian)
ID Code:153608
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:CALE Research Institute
Deposited On:2022-09-27
Last Modified:2022-11-21
Downloads:0

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