Immigration and Voting Behaviour
The aim of the project was to contribute to the understanding and explanation of citizens' attitudes towards immigration and immigrants as well as to draw attention to possible political consequences of these attitudes.An additional starting point of the project was the fact that relevant research literature is based as a rule on direct survey questioning. Given how prone the topic is to provoke conflicts - with economic arguments („Fachkräftemangel“, shortage of skilled workers), wide-spread public scepticism, social desirability and political correctness driving these conflicts, such surveys seem hardly ideal. This project goes beyond earlier studies by choosing methodologically another, rather subtle and more valid way of measuring attitudes.Building on recent relevant research predominantly from the U.S. this was the first study in Germany to employ such alternative techniques, among others experimental variations of individual migrants' features including morphing techniques and methods based on reaction rates (implicit attitudes tests).Overall, the project showed that first, alternative measures to capture sensitive topics such as immigration can successfully be adopted in Germany and second, that they lead to different results than established procedures. Current events and discussions like the protest marches mainly in Eastern Germany (“Pegida”) and electoral successes of the party Alternative for Germany (“Alternative für Deutschland”, AfD), suggest that further research following this approach could be highly relevant.