Paul Marx, Elias Naumann
Do right-wing parties foster welfare chauvinistic attitudes? A longitudinal study of the 2015 ‘refugee crisis’ in Germany

Electoral Studies, 2018: 52, pp. 111-116
ISSN: 0261-3794

The surge of immigration to Europe starting in 2015 is one of the most important political challenges in recent history. In this research note, we address the question of whether the ‘refugee crisis’ has contributed to welfare chauvinistic attitudes in Germany, a country attracting a large share of asylum seekers. Moreover, we ask whether party rhetoric in general and from a new radical right-wing party in particular has influenced the expression of such attitudes. Using individual-level panel data, we show that welfare chauvinism increased markedly during the first year of the crisis. This increase is not restricted to new radical right wing voters. Although parties diverged in their position on immigration, we observe increased welfare chauvinism among supporters of all parties. Only support for a harsher version of welfare chauvinism (making benefits conditional upon citizenship) increased disproportionately among new radical right-wing voters. We conclude that the refugee crisis activated dispositions to make in-group/out-group distinctions that are to some extent independent of party rhetoric.