Narratives That Mobilise

Narratives That Mobilise

Who cares about migration?

Salience of migration concerns

In our study, we asked respondents to share a story about anything they felt anxious about lately.

Migration figured heavily into respondents’ concerns, accounting for almost a quarter ­– 22 percent – of all narratives (Figure 3) in our sample. The frequency with which the respondents shares stories related to particular concern – in this case migration – is an indicator of the issue salience.

Using the dashboard below, reader can explore the demographic characteristics of those concerned about migration in our sample and compare them with those of others, concerned about different issues.

Figure 3. Migration salience in the overall sample


Both in absolute terms and proportionally, migration stories were more prevalent among the respondents who were living in Germany. Many stories came from Croatia but the lowest number came from those living in Austria (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Migration salience by country


More migration-related stories were shared by women (Figure 5a) and this was particularly the case for Austria (Figure 5b). Only in Germany did more men share a story that related to migration than women (Figure 5c).

Figure 5. Migration salience by sex

Most of the stories in our sample came from respondents between the ages of 31 and 50 years old and were almost equally split between women and men. However, it was within the over-50 cohort where migration concerns were the most salient and one-third of the most recent concerns for women in this age group were about migration (Figure 6).

Figure 6. Migration salience by sex and age


Forty-three percent of the stories in our sample were from the first generation of immigrants from the Western Balkans themselves, primarily from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, and a further 23 percent were from second and third generation immigrants (Figure 7).

Figure 7. Migration salience by immigrant generation


Migration narratives

The 121 individual stories related to respondents’ migration concerns in the Resonant Voices survey were categorised into various narratives.

Ten distinct narratives were found in this sample. The 10 narratives were then grouped according to how the migration threat was described by the respondent. A threat assessment matrix was created to categorise the threat perception according to: whether it considered primarily the in-group or the out-group perspective and, conversely, whether it saw the in-group or the out-group as a threat; whether it stayed primarily within a security and safety domain, or discussed broader, non-security impacts of migration on society. For the sake of brevity, we call the latter ‘cultural impacts’.

Finally, the narratives were sorted based on whether they reflected the sending or the receiving country perspective.

Table 1. Migration narratives grouping into threat frames

Stories about… Security impacts/Receiving Cultural impacts/Receiving Cultural impacts/Sending
In-group considerations/Out group blaming 1.  Negative security consequences for the local population

2. Violent crimes perpetrated by migrants

3. Negative socioeconomic and cultural consequences for the local population

4. Discrimination of immigrants from the Western Balkans in Germany and Austria

Out-group considerations/In-group blaming 5. Violence against migrants at borders

6. Mistreatment of migrants and rescuers at sea

7. Mistreatment of migrants

8. Prejudice and intolerance against foreigners

9. Increasing anti-migrant attitudes and Islamophobia


In-group considerations/In-group blaming 10. Emigration of young people from Croatia

Using this matrix, the narratives of 121 respondents concerned about migration in our sample, coded in 10 categories, were further grouped into six larger baskets according to which threat framing the narratives (explicitly or implicitly) adhered.


Migration threat frames

  1. Dangerous migrants
    Respondents adopting this framing in their migration threat assessment express concerns about deteriorating security as a result of migrants’ arrival in Europe. They worry about their own safety and potential violence because of migrants transitioning through the respondent’s country or those who already reside there. As an evidence of an existence of this threat, some respondents recount specific incidents in which violent crimes were perpetrated by migrants.
  2. Migrants as victims
    Respondents framing their migration concern in this way express dismay at the mistreatment and abuse of migrants and violence against them, primarily from the authorities in the receiving or transition countries. For example, a number of respondents in Croatia were concerned about the violent pushback against migrants at the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Another group of respondents was worried about the treatment of migrants and rescue workers and the human consequences of authorities’ inaction. Yet others are worried about the difficult conditions and harsh treatment of migrants in transit along the so-called Balkan Route and in the asylum centres of destination countries like Austria.
  3. Cultural diversity and multiculturalism as threat to society
    Respondents applying this framing are concerned about the negative socio-economic and cultural impacts of migration, and a desire to protect the culture and resources of receiving countries. They either use economic arguments by evoking the threat to livelihoods posed by migrants, or cultural incompatibility arguments by pointing out instances and manifestations of differences and a perceived inferiority of immigrants’ cultures. This group considers that migration and migrants are disrupting, eroding and destroying the European way of life by taking jobs and introducing unacceptable norms of behaviour while failing to accept those of their receiving countries.
  4. Intolerance as threat to society
    Respondents identifying the migration threat in these terms are concerned about rising anti-migrant attitudes and Islamophobia. The narratives also contain experiences – either as a witness or as a target – of foreigners being treated with prejudice and intolerance. This group is worried that because openness, tolerance, respect for diversity and plurality, and protection of rights represent core values in the European way of life, the real threat consists in curbing these values or failing to apply them in the societal response to migration.
  5. Brain drain as threat to society
    A group of respondents, primarily in Croatia, frame the migration threat from the perspective of those staying behind and see it as the consequence of emigration from the immigrant-sending country. They are concerned with the push factors of migration, such as corruption and unemployment. These are mostly accounts from close friends, family and acquaintances who recently emigrated.
  6. Diaspora as second-class citizens
    Migration concerns of this group of Western Balkan diaspora respondents in Germany and Austria are framed as a critical look on the pull factors of migration, such as the quality of life, stability, or better career opportunities. These narratives contain the integration difficulties encountered by the immigrants themselves and personal experiences describing the pitfalls of the diaspora life, often told in the first person.


In this step, we conducted an inductive analysis of the migration threat frames based on the stories collected among our target population. The identified frames are found, and often contested, in the migration-related discussion in the media or public discourse in all three countries.


Illustration 1. Migration discourse

We will seek to interpret these frames from the perspective of their adherents so as to understand their appeal to, i.e. resonance with target audiences. We will then analyse the role of these narrative frames in online mobilisation and, finally, assess how the narrative threat framing contributes to polarisation and radicalisation.


Resonance of migration threat frames

Following the same logic as with analysing the overall migration concern’s salience, we analysed the frequency with which a particular narrative and frame occur as an indicator of resonance.

Respondents offered these narratives in response to a question about what had made them anxious recently. All 121 respondents are anxious about migration, but the framing they use signals that they care about this particular perspective, aspects or point in the migration discussion (Figure 8), and that this interpretation helps them navigate through the complexity of the issue and indicates possible solutions.

We probe these respondents’ interpretations of the migration threat further in part 3 of this report, to assess a likely exposure to this type of strategic communication and a possible positive response to strategic communication with similar framing and messages in the future.

Figure 8. Resonance of different migration narratives among those concerned about migration issues

Understandably, the country context significantly influences salience of concerns and resonance of particular threat frames and so does the sample composition.

The high emigration rate Croatia is experiencing is a very salient issue and it troubled a large number of respondents. Croatia is also currently exposed to unprecedented transitory migration. Many are concerned about migrants’ wellbeing in the context of violent pushback by Croatia’s border police (which was extensively covered by the domestic media at the time of data collection) and about their own security. A number of respondents also observe an increase in anti-migrant sentiment and growing Islamophobia among the general population in reaction to a perceived threat (Figure 9).

Figure 9. Resonance of different migration narratives among those concerned about migration per country

For German and Austrian respondents, most of whom belong to the diaspora, the resonance of both immigrant perspective narratives and the cultural threat framing reflects the convoluted migration concerns of other immigrants. Based on the respondents’ accounts, the Western Balkans diaspora finds itself in a situation equivalent to a ‘sandwich generation’. They are often treated as foreigners and frequently encounter discrimination and prejudice, while at the same time they are worried about the negative consequences, for society in general and for their community in particular, of accepting ‘new’ migrants. In this respect, they are worried the new migration wave is turning public sentiment against all migrants, including them. They also observe recent changes and the worsening of their status in terms of bureaucratic obstacles for foreigners and being seen as a strain on resources, resulting in unequal treatment of different categories of immigrants and more opportunities being afforded to the recent refugees and migrants. Finally, some members of the Western Balkans diaspora also worry about the cultural incompatibility of migrants from the Middle East and Africa.

Why some groups of respondents are partial to a specific threat framing with regards to migration is fairly straightforward. For example, discrimination against immigrants from the Western Balkans naturally resonates with the first-generation immigrants, the negative cultural impacts of migration narratives resonate more with the second and third generation of immigrants or non-immigrant population.

The heterogeneity of the salience of different concerns and the resonance of different frames is both a strength and a vulnerability in the present-day discussion about migration. In analysing, and particularly when intervening in the public discussions about migration it is important to recognise and acknowledge the reasoning behind the adherence to a certain point of view, the prioritising of certain perspectives and the preference for certain solutions.

In the next sections of this report we will examine the implications of narrative framing for online mobilisation, as defined by our research, and shed some light on how narratives inspire civic engagement and social change activism, and who might be at risk of manipulation which might lead to radicalisation.

Wanting to do something about migration

Online mobilisation around migration concerns

Individuals in our sample experienced anxiety about different events, and those worrying about the same problem preferred different frames for their interpretation of what they found threatening about their issue of concern. More importantly, they differed in the strength of their conviction that a change was necessary and in their readiness to take ‘offline’ action beyond voting. They were stimulated to engage when they were angry or frustrated in reaction to online content they saw regarding the issue they are worried about. We have dubbed this factor the ‘online mobilisation score’ (OMS).

The content analysis of individual respondents’ stories in the first part of the report was a necessary first step in the assessment of online mobilisation, because OMS is always linked to a specific issue of concern. In the second part of the report, we introduce the online mobilisation score to the analysis of migration narratives, frames, and their proponents.

Using the worksheet below, the reader can explore how the OMS score differs for those concerned about migration in comparison with respondents with other concerns and which groups experience higher or lower online mobilisation. The individual components of OMS are listed separately, allowing a comparison of individual OMS contributing factors.

Figure 10. Online Mobilisation Score for migration and other concerns

As indicated in Figure 10, the average online mobilisation around migration concerns is lower than the overall sample. However, the individual scores are quite dispersed, and it is important in the analysis to consider the distribution.

The exploration of the variation of the average OMS and its distribution among the key demographic group reveals noteworthy patterns.

Age influences online mobilisation for the group of respondents concerned with migration, with the youngest cohort being the most mobilised and the older cohort being the least mobilised (Figure 11a).

Women were slightly less mobilised around the issue of migration than men, even though the opposite is true for other concerns (Figure 11b).

Figure 11. Average OMS and its components for migration and other concerns by key demographic categories

Non-immigrant males between 18-30 in Croatia were the most mobilised category when it came to migration concerns and frustration was the dominant emotion in response to online content on the issue they consumed with mobilising effect. First-generation immigrants, in contrast, were the least likely to do something about their migration-related concern, although they perceived a greater need for a change than any other category (Figure 12).

Figure 12. Average OMS and its components for migration and other concerns by immigrant generations

Online mobilisation and threat framing of migration

There is a diversity of narratives about migration threats within our sample, ranging from the stories of individuals who are themselves immigrants with concerns about their treatment, those who were concerned about young people emigrating, those worried about how migrants are treated, to those who are afraid of migrants and would like to keep them out.

In this section of the report we will analyse how the resonance of different narrative frames correlates with online mobilisation. We will analyse the distribution of OMS across respondent categories with the same concern but different framing.

Based on the average OMS, the most mobilised group in our sample are those concerned about the mistreatment, abuse and violence against migrants – the migrants as victims frame (Figure 13). These types of narratives were also the most resonant among our sample.

Reader can further explore online mobilisation patters across key demographic categories, using filters in the dashboard. A brief summary of findings is presented below for each narrative frame.

Figure 13. Average OMS and its components per migration threat frames

Migrants as victims

This narrative framing has the most mobilised proponents overall but not in each country. Among our Croatian respondents, the framing portraying migrants as dangerous has a higher average mobilisation score, though a much lower resonance (Figure 14). In Germany and in Austria, where the respondents in our sample are less mobilised comparatively, ‘migrants as victims’ tops the chart and carries the only above average OMS score among the migration narratives (Figure 14).

Figure 14. Average OMS and migration threat frames by country

Women were more mobilised around this issue than men and the mobilisation seems to be driven by anger (Figure 16). The 18-30 age group (Figure 15) and the third-generation migrants and non-migrants (Figure 17) were more likely to engage on this issue.

Figure 15. Average OMS and migration threat frames by age group

Figure 16. Average OMS and migration threat frames by sex

Figure 17. Average OMS and migration threat frames by immigrant generation

Intolerance as threat to society

The second highest online mobilisation score in our sample was recorded for the framing that considered an ‘out-group’ point of view, blamed the ‘in-group’, and lamented the cultural impact of migration. This manifested as an increase in xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-migrant attitudes among the population in the transition and receiving countries. This narrative frame was especially resonant in Germany, followed by Croatia among our respondents (Figure 14).

The intolerance-as-threat narrative was found to be more resonant and mobilising for women (Figure 16), and first- and second-generation immigrants (Figure 17) in our sample, who either empathised with immigrants or were acting out of self-interest, motivating them to do something about the problem of the majority community’s negative reaction to foreigners.

In contrast to the security-framing, in which the stories are largely based on the media reports, the narratives in this category are mostly based on personal experiences, which might account for the difference in OMS.

Stories about rising Islamophobia and anti-migrant attitudes in our sample come from Muslims in Croatia, mostly women, who witnessed hate speech and Islamophobia among their peers in the workplace or from university lecturers in relation to what is happening on the Balkan migration route.

Brain drain as threat to society

It should be noted that most of the narratives are about other people who left, so the mobilisation around worries about migration concerns the people who are staying behind, rather than those who are leaving. In our sample, this frame is overwhelmingly resonant in Croatia (Figure 14), more resonant among the non-immigrant and third-generation immigrant population (Figure 17), women and respondents older than 50 (Figure 16a), but it is more mobilising for men under 30. (Figure 16b)

The narratives of brain drain mainly list reasons why people want to leave Croatia.

Diaspora as second-class citizens

This narrative frame is found only among the diaspora, almost exclusively expressed by first-generation immigrants (Figure 17.1), predominantly men of  Western Balkans origin living in Austria and Germany. The lower mobilisation score is perhaps a reflection of their precarious status – they do not expect to have their voices heard.

The diaspora narratives from Austria and Germany present problems which the Western Balkans diasporas and other mostly first-generation immigrants face in host countries, such as lack of acceptance, experiences of unequal treatment and instances of bureaucratic harassment.

Figure 17.1. Migration threat frames among 1st generation immigrants by sex and age


Dangerous migrants

The framing of migration narrative as an ‘in-group’ security threat resonates among the women respondents in our sample residing in Germany, over 50 years of age, who are themselves first generation immigrants (Figure 17.1), but it is more mobilising for non-immigrants among our respondents under the age of 30. Although the second least mobilising frame for the sample overall, the proponents of this framing represent the most mobilised group on average in Croatia. It may indicate a vulnerability in this particular group but because of a very small number of respondents (N=2), caution should be exercised when interpreting this result.

Cultural diversity and multiculturalism as threat to society

The least mobilising narrative frame in our sample overall and for Croatia (Figure 13) and Austria (Figure 14) in particular, was found with those whose proponents feel the need to protect or defend the culture and the resources in the receiving countries from the migrants. Still the narrative is mobilising for the second-generation migrants and resonates with the first generation (Figure 17), and for people between the ages of 30 and 50 (Figure 15).

Respondents invoke various cultural, social, and economic arguments against migrants.



In this part of the report we analyse how caring about a certain issue and framing the perceived threat in a certain way  may translate into engagement – and why some people are mobilised to take action, to give an indication of which groups are already mobilised and what are obstacles to mobilisation are in place  some other groups. We now understand the resonance and the mobilisation potential of different migration frames among our target audience.

In the last part of the report we will deconstruct the frames based on detailed interpretations by the respondents themselves, predicting the likely impact of online mobilisation, detecting vulnerabilities that can be exploited through nefarious efforts and identifying opportunities for strategic communication to prevent radicalisation and reduce polarisation.

Preventing radicalisation around migration concerns through strategic communication

In our study, we conducted an analysis of online mobilisation around migration issues through parsing the narrative frames of migration threat found among stories shared by the target group. We analysed how the narrative framing influences online mobilisation, which enabled us to measure the likelihood of engagement on a particular migration-related issue through mobilisation online.

The OMS methodology introduced in the previous chapter is an innovation in audience metrics allowing us to identify which narrative frames are more likely to resonate and more likely to translate into offline engagement for which groups of respondents and the audience segments they represent.

We observed that geography and demography explain some of the variance in the resonance of migration threat frames and associated online mobilisation.
In the last section of the report, we expand the analysis by considering further data on respondents’ individual opinions, beliefs and preferences which can further explain the resonance of threat framing in connection with migration and a differential online mobilisation. We also aim to elucidate how a path from issues salience to mobilisation and – ultimately – action can be influenced through communication.

Media/online content exposure: online mobilisation, online engagement

The analysis presented below provides specific and actionable insights on how both the online content exposure and the online mobilisation can affect polarisation and radicalisation of opinions and how this process can be reversed through strategic communication. We identify susceptibility to media influence that, if exploited, can lead to polarisation and radicalisation among the target audience. This analysis then also enables an audience-based detection and prediction of online manipulation, with an aim to inform strategies that can prevent negative outcomes of online mobilisation around migration concerns.

We are measuring the radicalisation of opinion among those who are exposed to content on their issue of concern and those who are mobilised. A movement further from the average and closer to the extreme end of the spectrum of opinions expressed about the issue of concern, the government, democratic institutions, the EU, either positively or negatively, among the proponents of a particular narrative frame is considered an indicator of radicalisation. Moving of proponents of different frames in the opposite direction indicates of polarisation. A susceptibility is understood as a likely resonance and in turn, likely achievement of a desired outcome of a communication influence effort.

We proceed by comparing the respondents’ migration problem interpretations and associated political beliefs between the two sets of respondents – those who were the most mobilised (90th percentile, or top 10 percent OMS in each country) and those who were exposed to online content on migration issues – and the rest of the sample.

The mobilisation is based on our OMS metric. It already partially contains the information on the online content exposure – those who reported feeling angry or frustrated seeing online content about their issue of concern were more mobilised. To capture other (i.e. other than mobilisation) online content exposure effects, we also include the comparative analysis with those who were highly exposed to online content on their issue of concern but were not highly mobilised.

Figure 18. Exposure to online content related to the migration threat frames

By far the lowest exposure to content that relates to their specific issue of concern is found among those worried about unequal treatment as members of the diaspora (Figure 18a). The highest is among those concerned about violence against migrants.

Among the most mobilised, the exposure to content on their issue of concern was different – those most mobilised about emigration reported the highest level of content exposure on this issue (Figure 18b). Interestingly, the percentage of respondents who were exposed to content about cultural differences as threat among those who were highly mobilised on the issue almost doubles.

Next, we look at the likelihood of online engagement on the issue (Figure 19a). Those who reported to be more exposed to the content on the issue online were generally more likely to engage. The average of likelihood of online engagement on the issue (on a scale of zero – not likely – to 1 highly likely) increases from 0.44 to 0.64. This is true for respondents within all narrative frames, except the ‘dangerous migrants’ frame.

We can see that although the exposure to the content was the lowest for those concerned about unequal treatment of the diaspora (Figure 18a), the self-reported likelihood of engagement was the highest (Figure 19b). Rising intolerance and xenophobia is another group which was more likely to engage than average (Figure 19a), with comparatively low reported exposure to content about the issue (Figure 18a).

Figure 19. Likelihood of online engagement per migration threat frame

The most mobilised around the rising intolerance and xenophobia were also the most likely to engage on the issue online (Figure 19c). Among our sample, this group therefore can be considered the most susceptible to messaging. The least susceptible are the proponents of the ‘dangerous migrants’ frame – they are the least likely to engage, regardless of the exposure and degree of online mobilisation.


Media/online content exposure: radicalisation


Perception of threat: Immediacy of threat

We found no association between the perception of how immediate the threat is and online mobilisation. Those who reported being very worried that their migration concern might have an immediate negative impact on their life are not more mobilised.

Here, we analyse the immediacy of concern among the more exposed and more mobilised among proponents of different migration threat framing to asses if online content on migration issues can have radicalising and polarising effects and if they can lead to a greater online engagement and likelihood of voting.

There is a different perception of the immediacy of migration threat, depending on the framing. In the previous sub-section (Figure 18b) we observed that the exposure to the content on the issue of concern is much higher among the highly mobilised around the cultural differences as threat. Here we see that the perception of this particular threat’s immediacy is the highest, i.e. those worried about this consequence of migration in our sample report to be the most alarmed about it (Figure 20a). It is possible that this is an effect of an alarmist messaging on the subject to which this audience is exposed to online.

The most mobilised group, those concerned about migrants as victims (see Figure 13), was the least threatened by the problem (Figure 20b), and this did not change with increased exposure (Figure 20c).

Exposure to the content related to the concern about diaspora as second-class citizens was associated with an increase in the perception of immediacy of the threat (Figure 20c).

Figure 20. Immediacy of threat perception by migration threat frame

Figure 21. Immediacy of threat and OMS per threat frame and country


Perception of threat: Public opinion and community support

Similarly to the perception of the threat’s immediacy, the perceived social alienation, measured as a subjective assessment of how widely or narrowly shared a respondent’s view on the issue was, was not associated with online mobilisation.

Perceived public consensus or discord, however, is a factor that can have an impact on the eventual engagement and social change action.

Figure 22. Average perceived social consensus in the reference groups per migration threat frames

Those who feared for their security and felt the need to protect the culture and resources because of migrants (red and yellow) believed the majority shared their view, across all levels of society, and their assessment of the consensus in the society was consistently higher than those worried about the security of the migrants (Figure 22). Those who worried about migrants as victims of violence and xenophobia (green and blue) mostly felt like a minority when it came to their migration concern (Figure 22).

Those with cultural differences and resource competition anxieties (yellow) believed that there was a greater consensus on the issue at all levels of society. This is likely evidence of an anti-immigrant narrative amplification. The perceived high consensus in this threat framing was particularly high among the most mobilised respondents, i.e. those with the highest OMS (Figure 23a).

The proponents of a culture of tolerance (Figure 22, green) viewed their opinion as marginalised and isolated, especially in Austria, in particular on the country scale. There was a perceived consensus about an emigration problem (pink).

The family/work/neighbourhood consensus on the diaspora problems (purple) might indicate a tight knit community of immigrants as opposed to the ‘country’ which likely denoted the majority (Figure 22). There were no repospondents who were highly exposed to online content about diaspora issues (Figure 23b), signifying an information vacuum about these issues online. In the same manner as high exposure, lack of information can also contribute to radicalisation around issues of concern. 

Figure 23. Average perceived social consensus by mobilisation and exposure levels


Perception of solutions and alternatives: Allies and enemies

The survey questions respondents were asked provided insights into respondents’ thinking about broader political influences and the impacts on the situation that concerned them, in this case migration.

They were asked to evaluate the performance of institutional, governments and political stakeholders on migration, which we believe reflects both the perceived involvement and communication of different stakeholders on various aspects of migration concerns.

This involvement, performance and communication can be mobilising, polarising and radicalising.
The data is analysed by looking at the performance of different stakeholders, according narrative frames, assessing whose actions and communication is resonating with proponents and opponents. If the opinions diverge wildly, the stakeholder is considered polarising, and they are considered radicalising if the distance increases for the mobilised or exposed group.

If they are seen more positively by the mobilised group, it indicates successful mobilisation. If the opposite is true, they are likely antagonising their own supporters.


Migration threat narratives and political left/right polarisation and radicalisation

Figure 24. The influence of different stakeholders on the migration issue

The findings presented in (Figure 24a) point to online right-wing radicalisation among those who feared migration and migrants from security and cultural perspectives, based on considerably more positive view among those who were more mobilised of ther radical right stakeholders.

Only less pronounced evidence is found for the left-wing radicalisation. Those who were mobilised online to protect migrants from violence and xenophobia were not more positive about the radical left on average, except those who worried about violence against migrants and the mistreatment of migrants.

Online mobilisation increases polarisation of opinion about left-wing and right-wing stakeholders.
While OMS includes effects of online content, it does not factor in the frequency of exposure. To assess if increased exposure to content shifts perceptions in favour or against the radical left or right, we compared responses between those who said they saw the content related to their issue of concern everytime they went online and those who saw such content less frequently (Figure 24b).

Exposure to content on security threats of migration seemed to reduce the positive perception of the radical right on average. Exposure to content on rising xenophobia increased average support for the left wing (Figure 24b).


Migration threat narratives and opinions about the government, media and mainstream parties

Figure 25. The influence of governments, mainstream parties, and media on migration threat frames

Mobilisation decreased polarisation of opinions of government among proponents of different migration threat frames (Figure 25). Anti-government sentiment increased for all mobilised on migration threats regardless of the framing but soared for those who felt threatened by violence against migrants. Government was seen positively by respondents who were woried about violence against migrants but who were less mobilised. Their mobilised peers on the other hand had a more positive opinion of the media’s role and involvement in the issue.

On the contrary, those highly mobilised around the increasing xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-migrant sentiment saw media more negatively than their less mobilised peers.

Those mobilised on diaspora concerns about their unequal treatment were very critical of the government’s role.


The EU

Figure 26. The influence of the EU on the migration issue, by level of mobilisation

The perception of the EU’s role in mobilisation around migration threats follows a similar pattern to that of the government’s role. The most mobilised have more negative view, with the violence against migrants framing representing the biggest drop. Because of the government’s and the EU’s involvement in what is happening at the borders, those most mobilised are more critical.


Threat framing and perception of outside influences

Figure 27. Outside influence on migration threat frames, by mobilisation level

Perception of the role of external actors in influencing responses to migration-related threats differs according to the threat framing. International organisations’ performance was seen as the most positive although on average it was still seen asnegative. (Figure 27) Those threatened by violence against migrants and rising xenophobia saw it as the most positive, whereas those threatened by the prospect of living together with people from different cultures and sharing resources with immigrants, and particularly the diaspora worried about their own unequal treatment, saw it as most negative. However, those who were mobilised around all migration threat framings saw international organisations much less positively on average, except those concerned about violence against migrants. This indicates that the mobilising narratives are highly critical of the performance of international institutions vis a vis migration.

The perception of Russia is likely also influenced through media – the cultural difference and multiculturalism threat of migration proponents who were highly mobilised were well above average in perceiving Russia more positively than all other respondents concerned about migrations but also than those within the same framing resonance who were less mobilised. The same group also saw the Vatican’s role as extremely positive in the context of this study.

The US was seen as the most negative, except for those concerned about the negative effect of emigration.

The worksheet below (Figure 28) allows the reader to examine the full ‘scorecard’ through which respondents evaluated the contribution of different domestic and international actors/stakeholders to the solution or the exacerbation of the problem. It is possible to switch between migration threat frames, countries or demographic groups.

Figure 28. The influence of different stakeholders on the migration issue, by mobilisation level


Perception of solutions and alternatives: Political offer

During the survey, respondents were asked about parties who offered viable solutions to the problem and those whose platform was the furthest from the respondents’ understanding of how to address the problem.

Figure 29. OMS and likelihood of voting for political parties by migration threat frames, Austria

Comparing the likelihood of voting for a political party with a viable solution to specific threat frames in the three country samples, the sample in Germany is the least likely to vote (compare Figures 29, 30, and 31). 

Figure 30. OMS and likelihood of voting for political parties by migration threat frames, Croatia

Figure 31. OMS and likelihood of voting for political parties by migration threat frames, Germany

Figure 32. Resonance of parties’ migration platforms with migration threat frames in Germany

In Austria, only the issue of the treatment of the diaspora as second-class citizens had at least 10 respondents concerned about it (Figure 33). If deciding to vote based on how well a party addresses this concern, among those who believed that there is a specific party able to address this, the vote was split between SPÖ and FPÖ.

Figure 33. Resonance of parties’ migration platforms with concerns of diaspora as second-class citizens


Figure 34. Resonance of parties’ migration platforms with migration threat frames in Croatia

Generally, on migration concerns, as well as other concerns, the largest proportion of respondents do not feel any political party offers a viable solution to the issue, regardless of their framing (Figure 35).

In Austria, SPO seems the preferred solution although respondents stated they are more likely to vote for NEOS (Figure 35). In Croatia, Mozemo’s (We Can) migration related platform addresses concerns of most respondents. In Germany, the respondents are quite evenly split among different political options, but those who prefer the AFD’s solution to migration are the most likely to vote (Figure 35).

Figure 35. Parties best representing migration concerns by percentage and likelihood of voting