Public Opinion Backlash to Liberal Policy: The Case of Muslim Political Rights in the UK
45 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2017
Date Written: January 26, 2017
This study argues that democratic states face a dilemma in the regulation of Muslim integration because they have to take into account citizens' reactions. Focusing on one particular aspect of Muslim integration - how authorities deal with this group's political right to demonstrate - we provide evidence from a survey experiment and show that citizens react negatively to liberal policy approaches. We further show that disagreement with elite decision is a source of citizens' resentment toward Muslim immigrants and leads to a polarization among the public. This notion of opinion backlash to liberal policy adds a new perspective to the literature on immigration attitudes which has either assumed a congruence between public opinion and policy regimes or ignored political sources of anti-immigrant sentiment altogether. By exploring the unintended consequences of liberal policy we provide an alternative view and demonstrate the inherent democratic dilemma of balancing citizen opinion and minority rights.
Keywords: Opinion Backlash; Immigration Attitudes; Muslim Immigration; Policy Effects; Survey Experiment
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation