Are ‘red wall’ constituencies really opposed to progressive policy? Examining the impact of materialist narratives for Universal Basic Income

Johnson, Matthew, Johnson, Elliott and Nettle, Daniel (2022) Are ‘red wall’ constituencies really opposed to progressive policy? Examining the impact of materialist narratives for Universal Basic Income. British Politics. ISSN 1746-918X (In Press)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41293-022-00220-z

Abstract

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is often presented as desirable in theory, but unsaleable electorally. Policymakers fear intuitive, ‘values’-based opposition from socially conservative voters, whom the policy would benefit materially, but who might regard it as ‘giving others something for nothing’. We provide evidence from ‘red wall’ constituencies in Wales and the Midlands and North of England that indicates this presumption of voters is wrong. In Study 1, we find high levels of support for the policy, with different narrative framings more effective for different groups based on their material interests. In Study 2, we used a novel ‘adversarial collaboration’ method to show that simple narratives can strongly increase support for UBI even among respondents who initially see themselves as fundamentally opposed. The generated narratives stressed positive, material consequences of introducing UBI, rather than conformity with abstract values. This indicates that policymakers should exercise caution over ‘values’-based explanations for preferences.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Public policy, Universal Basic Income, public health, socio-economic status, adversarial collaboration, materialism
Subjects: L400 Social Policy
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2022 12:06
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2022 11:30
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/50288

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