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What’s Islam got to do with it? Attitudes toward specific religious and national out-groups, and support for EU policies


Previous studies predicted European Union attitudes using anti-immigrant attitudes, but without explicitly accounting for attitudes toward different out-groups. We propose that group-specific attitudes independently predict attitudes toward the European Union, but only when the out-group is linked to the European Union issue in question. We additionally argue that realistic or symbolic threat associated with specific out-groups determines whether utilitarian or identity considerations are more important in predicting European Union attitudes. Using a nationally representative Dutch sample (N = 2347), we focus on attitudes toward Polish and Muslim immigrants to predict strengthening of European Union integration and Turkey’s potential accession and find support for our hypotheses. The findings indicate the need to rethink the relationship between out-group perceptions and European Union attitudes.

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