Worried the country is falling apart? You'd be more likely to vote for this man

26 November 2021

Dr Charlie Crimston from UQ's School of Psychology spoke with In Queensland about a new study examining links between moral division and the desire to elect extreme leaders as a potential solution. 

The political psychology study found that people may vote away from their own political leanings if they feel a need to restore public order.

Dr Crimston, says that the study, which examined voter sentiment in Australia, the US and the UK, found that if people believe societal fabric is breaking down they are more likely to elect an authoritarian figure to restore order, such as Donald Trump or Pauline Hanson.

She says that in the past few years globally there has been a rise in support for strong, authoritarian style leaders.

This includes most notably, Trump in the US, and also leaders in places like Brazil and the Philippines.

The study found that it wasn’t just extreme leaders on the right who garnered support through moral division, but also those on the left of the political divide.

“One thing I can say about Australia is that the links between moral polarisation and support for these extreme leaders was actually the strongest,” Dr Crimston said.

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