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

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Series Title
Series Details Vol.18, No.3, September 2017, p382–405
Publication Date September 2017
ISSN 1465-1165
Content Type


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.

Source Link http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1465116517698048
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