Talking Turkey: Anti-immigrant attitudes and their effect on support for Turkish membership of the EU
Recent studies have shown that the most important factor explaining opinions on European Union issues is attitudes towards immigrants. Two arguments are given to explain this effect. We contend that these arguments are both built on the idea that people with anti-immigrant attitudes frame other Europeans as an out-group. We then test the validity of these arguments by measuring how respondents in a voter survey frame the issue of Turkish membership. We find that framing the issue in terms of out-groups indeed mediates the effect of anti-immigrant attitudes on support for Turkish membership. This finding offers new insights into why levels of public support vary over different EU issues, because opposition is likely to increase when an issue is more easily framed in terms of out-groups.
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