Political Intolerance, Right and Left



Research recently published in Political Psychology suggested that political intolerance is more strongly predicted by political conservatism than liberalism. Our findings challenge that conclusion. Participants provided intolerance judgments of several targets and the political objective of these targets (left-wing vs. right-wing) was varied between subjects. Across seven judgments, conservatism predicted intolerance of left-wing targets, while liberalism predicted intolerance of right-wing targets. These relationships were fully mediated by perceived threat from targets. Moreover, participants were biased against directly opposing political targets: conservatives were more intolerant of a left-wing target than the opposing right-wing target (e.g., pro-gay vs. anti-gay rights activists), while liberals were more intolerant of a right-wing target than the opposing left-wing target. These findings are discussed within the context of the existing political intolerance and motivated reasoning literatures.