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Support for border security during the COVID-19 pandemic: evidence on levels and predictors from eight Western democracies in 2020

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One of the unprecedented measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic was to close borders across the world. In Europe, the closing of national borders was perceived as particularly controversial because of the emphasis on the free movement of labor and citizens across borders within the European Union. Here, we examine the level of support for border closings among citizens from eight Western democracies, how support developed over time, and how particular COVID-19-related concerns and considerations predict individual differences in support. Specifically, we collected data on support for tightened border security from 9 April 2020 until 19 December 2020 in quota-sampled online surveys in Denmark, Sweden, United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Hungary. Eight Western democracies that differ in their response to and the impact of COVID-19 (N = 67,679). Overall, the data show moderate to high levels of support for tightened border security across all observed countries, with substantial within-country variation. Furthermore, the analyses show that support for border security relates to both usual predictors of anti-immigration views and corona-specific considerations, in particular, personal concerns about the adverse effects of COVID-19 and attributions of blame to international actors such as China and WHO.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • COVID-19, border security, vote choice, egotropic concern, blame attributions, ATTITUDES

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