Hostility Towards Immigration in Europe: Examining the Role of Mass-Elite Relations and the Context of Public Salience
Determinants of anti-immigration attitudes are traditionally ascribed to individual or group-level predispositions such as education, income or cultural threat. This paper contributes to this research by taking into account characteristics of the mass-elite relations, namely the impact of political trust, the presence of populist right-winged parties and the elite discourse on multiculturalism. Additionally, the analysis considers different levels of public salience of immigration. Using a hierarchical logistic model, the paper combines data from the Eurobarometer survey, ParlGov and the Comparative Manifesto Project from 2014 to 2017 to examine the impact of factors of mass-elite relations on anti-immigration attitudes and the context of salience. The analysis shows that political trust decreases and a positive elite discourse on multiculturalism increases hostility towards immigration. While neither public salience nor the presence of right-wing parties impact hostility towards immigration by themselves, the presence of right-wing parties conditioned on high public saliences increases hostility towards immigration.