The Effect of Anger Appeals on the Support for Secessionist Parties

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Can anger appeals create support for separatism? This article presents the results of a region-wide field experiment conducted by a third-party local organization during the 2017 Catalan regional elections, estimating the effect of anger-inducing campaign messages on actual electoral outcomes. The organization randomly assigned municipalities to three conditions: proindependence anger-inducing leaflets depicting state repression, proindependence emotionally neutral leaflets, or no leaflets. Results show that anger-inducing leaflets increased the prosecessionist parties’ vote share by 1%–1.7% compared to a zero increase in municipalities that received emotionally neutral leaflets or no leaflets. I assess the mechanisms and generalizability of the field experimental results in two independent survey experiments. These findings demonstrate how angerinducing reminders of state repression through electoral campaigns can shape voting behavior in the real world, even in highly polarized settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-96
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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