Social conformity and prejudice toward immigrants: the role of political messaging
Can targeted messages from political elites impact the relationship between valuing conformity and prejudice? We answer this question in a survey experiment on a national probability sample from the Netherlands by exposing respondents to a favorable vs. unfavorable statement about East European immigrants. We find that individuals attaching relatively high importance to the value of conformity express greater agreement with the statement, independently of its content or partisanship. Further, the positive association between valuing conformity and prejudice is significantly decreased when individuals are presented with a favorable statement about East European immigrants. Thus, valuing conformity is not only associated with higher prejudice but can also reduce prejudice because it makes individuals susceptible to elite normative pressure to respond positively.