Give Me Liberty or Give Me COVID-19: How Social Dominance Orientation, Right-wing Authoritarianism, and Libertarianism Explain Americans’ Reactions to COVID-19

Risk Analysis, Forthcoming

40 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2022

Date Written: January 9, 2022

Abstract

While previous research has revealed an ideological divide in Americans’ perceptions of COVID-19, specific ideological components can additionally explain public reactions to the pandemic. With two surveys–one sample of crowdsourced workers (N = 482) and a nationally representative sample of American adults (N = 7,449)–this research investigates how multiple ideological facets simultaneously predict individuals’ reactions to COVID-19. Results demonstrate that social dominance orientation and libertarianism are two important ideological sources that predict more dismissal of COVID-19 and less support for government measures. Right-wing authoritarianism was negatively correlated with COVID-19 concern and support for government actions, but suppression effects could exist. The effects of ideological variables were largely consistent when trust in science was considered. This study highlights the role of specific ideological components in contributing to the political divide regarding attitudes toward the COVID-19 pandemic beyond the liberal–conservative identification.

Keywords: COVID-19, polarization, political ideology, social dominance orientation, right-wing authoritarianism, libertarianism, trust in science

Suggested Citation

Peng, Yilang, Give Me Liberty or Give Me COVID-19: How Social Dominance Orientation, Right-wing Authoritarianism, and Libertarianism Explain Americans’ Reactions to COVID-19 (January 9, 2022). Risk Analysis, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4004357 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4004357

Yilang Peng (Contact Author)

University of Georgia ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

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