J. van Spanje
- Crime story: the role of crime and immigration in the anti-immigration vote
- Electoral Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 30 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Some scholars have found that mass immigration fuels the success of anti-immigration parties, whereas others have found that it does not. In this paper, we propose a reason for these contradictory results. We advance a set of hypotheses that revolves around a commonly ignored factor, crime. To test these hypotheses, we examine a setting where an anti-immigration party, the LPF, participated in simultaneous elections in all Dutch municipalities, which form a single constituency. According to our results, the impact of immigration rates on the individual vote for the LPF only manifests itself among those voters who are very ‘tough on crime’. In addition, we demonstrate that high local crime rates make an anti-immigration vote more likely, but only among voters who are very ‘tough on immigration’. This suggests that immigration and crime rates do not make all citizens more likely to cast an anti-immigration vote, but only those who perceive a link between the two issues. Thus, if one wishes to reduce anti-immigration leaders’ electoral support, countering their criminalization of immigrants may be a more fruitful strategy than trying to stop immigration - if at all possible.
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