In a new paper with Leila Hadj Abdou, we examine the profile of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) with regard to immigration. While we put a question mark in the title of the article, we conclude in the affirmative: Yes, we can consider the ÖVP an anti-immigrant party.
To reach this conclusion, we systematically examine the electoral manifestos of the party between 1994 and 2019 — following work I have done with Laura Morales. We can demonstrate that in the past the ÖVP held more ambiguous positions, but especially after 2017 the party has positioned itself more clearly against immigration, especially Muslim immigrants and their descendants as a ‘cultural other’ to the Austrian population. We argue that this change is due to the restructuring of the ÖVP into a leadership party.
Hadj-Abdou, Leila, and Didier Ruedin. 2021. ‘The Austrian People’s Party: An Anti-Immigrant Right Party?’ Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2020.1853904.
Ruedin, Didier, and Laura Morales. 2019. ‘Estimating Party Positions on Immigration: Assessing the Reliability and Validity of Different Methods’. Party Politics 25 (3): 303–14. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354068817713122.
Our paper in JEMS on the opinion-policy gap is now out. We examine the gap between public opinion on immigration and policies, combining public opinion data with data from the SOM project and MIPEX. Contrary to what is commonly assumed, our analysis over time suggests that the strength of anti-immigrant parties is not associated with the opinion–policy gap on immigration. Instead, it seems that the salience of immigration and the intensity of the public debate are. When negative attitudes are combined with extensive media coverage policy congruence on immigration seems more likely.
Morales, Laura, Jean-Benoit Pilet, and Didier Ruedin. 2015. “Does the Politicization of Immigration Increase Congruence between Public Attitudes towards Immigration and Immigration Policies?” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 41(9):1495-1516.
Just days after announcing the “SOM book” (Politicization of Immigration), I have the pleasure to announce another product from the SOM project: The Gap between Public Preferences and Policies on Immigration: A Comparative Examination of the Effect of Politicisation on Policy Congruence in JEMS. In this paper Laura Morales, Jean-Benoit Pilet and I examine the purported gap between (restrictive) public opinion on immigration and (expansive) policies by the elite.
Using data from the SOM project and a range of public opinion polls, we consider the situation across seven countries and 15 years (1995 to 2010). This provides a better insight in what is one of the most salient policy domains in contemporary Europe than was done previously. There is no evidence that strong anti-immigrant parties have anything to do with differences between public opinion and elite policies. Just like what I found in my monograph on political representation, it turns out that salience plays a key role. When negative attitudes in the population are combined with extensive media coverage, we observe high levels of policy congruence.