Work in progress

Lawall, Katharina. “Gender-immigration messages: How women’s rights are used to normalise anti-immigration views”

Abstract: How do extreme political parties normalise unacceptable views? I argue that when previously unacceptable positions are “normatively repackaged” as a defence of liberal democratic values, voters will find the position more acceptable. I examine this at the example of gender-immigration messages: statements using women’s rights to justify anti-immigration claims. I argue that gender-immigration messages make anti-immigration views and parties more acceptable. To test this, I conduct survey experiments, varying whether respondents are exposed to a gender-immigration message, an immigration message, a gender message or no message. I find that normative repackaging increases the acceptability of previously unacceptable views among all voters (in Norway), and among women, compared to men (in Germany). However, I find no effects of gender-immigration messages on radical right support or the direct expression of anti-immigrant views. These findings have important implications for our understanding of normative repackaging as a powerful legitimising device.

Lawall, Katharina. “My enemy’s enemy is my friend: the implications of negative partisanship in multi-party systems

Abstract: Strong negative feelings towards political parties are common in Western democracies but their implications for political attitudes beyond their disliked party are still poorly understood. This paper develops a theoretical argument, positing that negative partisanship should affect how voters feel about multiple political parties, not just the one that they dislike. To test this theory, respondents in a survey experiment were assigned to either a positive partisan prime, a negative partisan prime or no prime. In line with the idea of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”, I find that activating feelings of dislike towards a political party can move negative partisans closer to another party. These findings have important implications for our understanding of negative partisanship and its role in shaping political preferences.

Katharina Lawall, Stuart J. Turnbull-Dugarte, Florian Foos & Joshua Townsley. “Negative Political Identities and Costly Political Action”

Abstract: Elite and mass level politics in many Western democracies is characterised by the expression of strong negative feelings towards political out-groups. While the existence of these feelings is well-documented, there is little evidence on how negative identities are activated in campaign contexts. Can political campaigns use negative political identity cues to raise donations? We test whether fundraising emails containing negative or positive political identity cues lead supporters of a party to take costly action via a large pre-registered digital field experiment conducted in collaboration with a British political party. We find that emails containing negative as opposed to positive identity cues lead to a higher number and frequency of donations. We also find that negative identity cues are only effective when paired with an issue cue rather than a traditional partisan identity cue: resulting in a 15% uptake in the probability of making a donation. Our results provide novel experimental evidence of how negative political identities are activated in real-world political campaigns.

Lawall, Katharina. “Mobilising migrants: how effective are online interventions in increasing political participation among immigrants?

In Europe today, there is still a large gap in political participation between
immigrants and native citizens. For example, although mobile EU citizens (EU citizens residing outside their home country) have the right to vote in local elections in their country of residence, they often do not participate in these elections. These gaps in participation matter, as they can exacerbate existing political inequalities. This research project explores if social media interventions (Facebook groups and pages) are effective in increasing the political participation of mobile EU citizens. The project tests this through a field experiment carried out with local civil society partner organisations in the run up to local elections in Germany.

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