Were Americans’ Political Attitudes Linked to Objective Threats From COVID-19? An Examination of Data From Project Implicit During Initial Months of the Pandemic

Chadly Stern, Jordan Axt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has created objectively threatening situations in everyday life (e.g., unemployment, risk of infection), and researchers have begun to ask whether threats from the pandemic are linked to people’s political attitudes. However, scholars currently lack a systematic answer to this question. Here, we examined whether objective COVID-19 threats (cases, deaths, and government restrictions) occurring over the initial months of the pandemic (February–June 2020) were associated with seven different assessments of political attitudes among Project Implicit users in the United States (N = 34,581). We did not consistently observe meaningful associations between COVID-19 threats and political attitudes. The lack of consistent meaningful associations emerged regardless of the level of analysis (country, state, and county) or participant’s self-identified ideology. Collectively, these findings failed to find evidence that political attitudes were tied to COVID-19 threats in a meaningful way during the initial months of the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • ideological affordances
  • political attitudes
  • uncertainty-threat model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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