Does Your Status Influence Who You Vote For?
Economical inequality is said to be on the rise in developed countries, this is likely to have a huge impact on the political landscape of those countries.
But as this rise in inequality leads to changes in the amount of people in particular ‘status’ groups what effect might this have on political voting preferences?
Research recently published in Psychological Science journal aimed to consider this:
these studies investigated whether subjective status may lead to political division
The research team from the University of North Carolina and Duke University completed 4 studies and found some interesting results:
In Study 1, feeling higher in relative status was associated with lower support for redistribution.
In Study 2, feeling higher in status caused reduced support for redistribution.
In Study 3, we manipulated relative status in the context of an economic game and obtained similar results. Although participants could not profit from their recommendations, they recommended rule changes to reduce redistribution when they believed they had outperformed most other players.
Study 4 replicated these effects and showed that participants’ status affected their perceptions of bias in another player.
Concluding from the results of the 4 studies it can be seen that feelings of status change opinions towards redistribution.
As inequality grows it may be important to consider the fairness of redistribution that is politically proposed and to critically examine the support that is given.
Decisions about how wealth should be distributed and redistributed are among the most fundamental political decisions that citizens and their leaders must make. We suggest that social comparisons are critical for understanding attitudes toward economic inequality, as differences in relative status can contribute to differences in political preferences.