A study by academics in the School of Psychology at the University of East Anglia has found that voters who were prejudiced against migrants were more likely to have voted to leave the EU in the UK's referendum on EU membership in 2016.
Moreover, it found that negative intergroup contact (that is, a negative experience when interacting with migrants) was associated with higher anti-immigrant prejudice and, in turn, increased support for ‘Leave’. However, where voters had positive experience of contact with migrants, they were likely to have a lower level of prejudice and more likely to have voted for ‘Remain’.
The study was based on a sample of British voters in the referendum. The study found that older voters, less educated voters, and more politically conservative voters were those more inclined to vote to Leave the EU. However, anti-migrant prejudice and intergroup contact were then found to represent further predictors of voting intentions, over and above these demographic indicators.
Read the report of the study published in the British Journal of Social Psychology here