School of Psychology

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Perceptions on immigration and political trust shaped Brexit vote

11 January 2018

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One explanation for Brexit suggests it reflected people's worries about immigration. Another is that it reflected people's distrust of the political establishment. Now new research from psychologists on people’s attitudes in Kent and Scotland suggests that it was the link between these two factors that was particularly important.

Researchers at the University surveyed people just before the UK Referendum vote in June 2016 and found that concern about the impact of immigration and a distrust of politicians combined to amplify feelings of threat and lack of identification with Europe in Brexit voters.

The study, led by Professor Dominic Abrams, of the School of Psychology, featured online surveys conducted with 1,000 residents of Kent, where a majority said they intended to vote to leave, and 1,000 people in Scotland, where a majority said they intended to vote to remain.

To read the full story, please go to the Kent News Centre.

For more on this research see our Political and Social Change page.


School of Psychology - Keynes College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP

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Last Updated: 19/02/2015