WP9 – Public opinion survey
This work package analyses public opinion about EU mobility with a particular focus on the impact of the media. Although personal experience (such as the familiarity with free movement within the EU) might shape attitudes toward intra- and extra-EU mobility, mediated communication is an important source of information that can affect people’s perceptions and attitudes. Especially for those who lack personal experience with migration or migrants, media communication on such issues may be the only source they rely on. It is thus important to understand how media depictions of intra- and extra-EU mobility affect public opinion. Although this has been increasingly recognized theoretically during the last years, few studies have analysed the impact of media on public opinion in Europe.
The work package combines two quantitative approaches. In a first step, a panel survey of three consecutive waves (meaning we will track the same individuals three times) will be administered in seven countries: the UK, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Hungary, Romania and Poland. Within this survey, we will identify attitudes toward EU mobility, media exposure, as well as individual characteristics such as gender, socioeconomic status, economic situation and political preferences. This allows for a cross-national analysis of attitudes and opinions on EU-mobility, as well as linking these attitudes to socioeconomic status, political identification etc. Monitoring media exposure during all three panel waves allows for a conservative estimation of media influences (especially as this media content is analysed in work package 8).
In a second step, we will test for the influence of specific media content on attitudes and opinions. We will conduct survey experiments in all seven countries listed above to test whether specific narratives, story-telling elements and depictions shape perceptions about EU migrants and their impact on welfare. This will further our knowledge about the circumstances under which these impacts are more or less powerful. In sum, those two methodological approaches in combination with the media content identified in work package 8 will give us important insights on the influence of media from a cross-national as well as from an individual perspective.