“Personally I think the Leave campaign gave a new, acceptable way to express xenophobia,” said Dr Golec de Zavala.
(One of the authors of the report.)
The report basically found, in two studies, that voting for Brexit correlated with three personality traits often associated with xenophobia:
These were right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation – the idea that one’s group needs to fight for superiority in the world.
The third is a particular focus of Dr Golec de Zavala’s research, a trait known as “collective narcissism” – a belief in the unparalleled greatness of one’s country.
It’s fair to point out that, as some non-authors quoted in The Independent’s article emphasise, this isn’t a study of why a slender majority of British voters supported the disaster that is Brexit, and more factors than simple xenophobia are responsible for the outcome.
However, the conclusion is that if you are xenophobic, you are more likely to support an isolationist Britain that excludes pesky furriners. Not a very surprising conclusion, but one that should have been taken into account by David Cameron before calling for the foolish referendum in the first place, a ghastly mistake that will overshadow everything else he managed to accomplish, such as gay marriage. Also it’s worth taking into account in considering whether to reconsider the whole bad deal: is xenophobia a Very British Value?