In Love With Hatred: Rethinking the Role Hatred Plays in Shaping Political Behavior


  • This research was made possible, in part, by grants from the National Security Studies Center, University of Haifa, to the first author. An earlier version of this article was presented at the annual meeting of the International Association of Political Psychology, July 2006, Barcelona, Spain. The authors thank Daniel Bar-Tal, Israel Waismel-Manor, and David W. Nickerson for their helpful suggestions and valuable comments on earlier drafts of the article. The authors also thank Barbara Doron for her English editing of the paper.

Eran Halperin, School of Government, IDC, Israel P. O. Box 167 Herzliya, 46150, Israel. E-mail:


This paper addresses the problem of isolating and measuring the influence of hatred on political behavior by analyzing a nationwide panel study conducted during the 2006 election campaign in Israel. We argue that collective hatred is composed of 2 distinct emotional aspects: chronic and immediate. The core of this paper is an analysis of the influence of these 2 types of group-based hatred on 3 aspects of political behavior: political learning, party identification stability, and partisan support. The results indicate that both aspects of collective hatred—chronic and immediate—are incongruously crucial for the understanding of political outcomes, particularly political learning. We discuss the broader implications of these findings in assessing the impact of group-based hatred on the political process.