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9 - Group Empathy, Brexit, and Public Opinion in the United Kingdom

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 March 2021

Cigdem V. Sirin
Affiliation:
University of Texas, El Paso
Nicholas A. Valentino
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
José D. Villalobos
Affiliation:
University of Texas, El Paso
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Summary

Chapter 9 extends our examination of Group Empathy Theory outside the United States using data from the British Election Study (BES) in May 2018. The BES included our short version of the Group Empathy Index (GEI). It also included a ten-item individual-level empathy scale, which allowed us to compare the predictive power of intergroup empathy versus interpersonal empathy. Group empathy significantly predicts the British public’s opinion across a myriad of policy issues, including opposition to Brexit, favorable perceptions of immigration, support for equal opportunity policies, social welfare, and foreign aid. By comparison, individual empathy has very little effect on most of these policy views. In line with our theory and consistent with the findings from the United States, nonwhite minorities in the United Kingdom score higher on the GEI than whites do, while no significant intergroup differences are observed when it comes to individual-level empathy. The data indicates large gaps in policy opinions between whites and nonwhites, and group empathy once again helps explain these differences.

Type
Chapter
Information
Seeing Us in Them
Social Divisions and the Politics of Group Empathy
, pp. 212 - 230
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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