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National Debates, Local Responses: The Origins of Local Concern about Immigration in Britain and the United States

  • Daniel J. Hopkins

Theories of inter-group threat hold that local concentrations of immigrants produce resource competition and anti-immigrant attitudes. Variants of these theories are commonly applied to Britain and the United States. Yet the empirical tests have been inconsistent. This paper analyses geo-coded surveys from both countries to identify when residents’ attitudes are influenced by living near immigrant communities. Pew surveys from the United States and the 2005 British Election Study illustrate how local contextual effects hinge on national politics. Contextual effects appear primarily when immigration is a nationally salient issue, which explains why past research has not always found a threat. Seemingly local disputes have national catalysts. The paper also demonstrates how panel data can reduce selection biases that plague research on local contextual effects.

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1 Schoen, Douglas E., Enoch Powell and the Powellites (New York: Macmillan, 1977), p. 261.

2 Garbaye, Romain, Getting into Local Power: The Politics of Ethnic Minorities in British and French Cities (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2005); Husbands, Christopher T., Racial Exclusionism and the City: The Urban Support of the National Front (Boston, Mass.: Allen & Unwin, 1983); Schoen, Enoch Powell and the Powellites; Katznelson, Ira, Black Men, White Cities: Race, Politics, and Migration in the United States, 1900–30, and Britain, 1948–68 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976); and Lawrence, Daniel, Black Migrants, White Natives: A Study of Race Relations in Nottingham (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1974).

3 Dancygier, Rafaela, ‘The Politics of Race and Immigration in Britain: An Uneasy Balance’, in John Roemer, Woojin Lee and Karine van der Straeten, eds, Racism, Xenophobia, and Distribution (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2007); Solomos, John, Race and Racism in Britain (London: Macmillan, 1993); Messina, Anthony M., Race and Party Competition in Britain (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989); and Solomos, John, Black Youth, Racism, and the State: The Politics of Ideology and Policy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988).

4 These estimates come from the United Kingdom Statistics Authority ( [accessed 26 September 2008]) and the U.S. Census Bureau ( [accessed 17 March 2008]), respectively.

5 Dancygier, Rafaela, Immigration and Conflict in Europe (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2010); Tichenor, Daniel, Dividing Lines: The Politics of Immigration Control in America (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2002); Barkan, Eliot, ‘Return of the Nativists? California Public Opinion and Immigration in the 1980s and 1990s’, Social Science History, 27 (2003), 229283; Hansen, Randall, Immigration and Citizenship in Post-War Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); Solomos, Race and Racism in Britain; Higham, John, Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860–1925 (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1992); and Messina, Race and Party Competition in Britain.

6 These results come from Gallup’s monthly telephone surveys.

7 The first of these results comes from a MORI survey while the second comes from the British administration of the Eurobarometer. Both were accessed through Polling the Nations.

8 Reinhold, Robert, ‘A welcome for immigrants turns to resentment’, New York Times (25 August 1993), p. A1.

9 For a detailed discussion of welfare state resentments and local anti-immigrant hostility, see Dench, Geoff, Gavron, Kate and Young, Michael, The New East End: Kinship, Race, and Conflict (London: Profile Books, 2006).

10 Laurence, James and Heath, Anthony, ‘Predictors of Community Cohesion: Multi-Level Modelling of the 2005 Citizenship Survey’ (London: Department for Communities and Local Government, 2008); Bowyer, Benjamin T., ‘The Contextual Determinants of Whites’ Racial Attitudes in England’, British Journal of Political Science, 39 (2009), 559586; Coffé, Hilde, Heyndels, Bruno and Vermeir, Jan, ‘Fertile Grounds for Extreme Right-wing Parties: Explaining the Vlaams Blok’s Electoral Success’, Electoral Studies, 26 (2007), 142157; Dancygier, Immigration and Conflict in Europe; Dustmann, Christian and Preston, Ian, ‘Attitudes to Ethnic Minorities, Ethnic Context and Location Decisions’, Economic Journal, 111 (2001), 353373; Blalock, Hubert M., Toward a Theory of Minority-Group Relations (New York: Wiley, 1967); and Key, V. O., Southern Politics in State and Nation (New York: A. A. Knopf, 1949).

11 Sides, John and Citrin, Jack, ‘European Opinion about Immigration: The Role of Identities, Interests, and Information’, British Journal of Political Science, 37 (2007), 477504; Sniderman, Paul, Hagendoorn, Louk and Prior, Markus, ‘Predisposing Factors and Situational Triggers: Exclusionary Reactions to Immigrant Minorities’, American Political Science Review, 98 (2004), 3549; Fetzer, Joel S., ‘Economic Self-interest or Cultural Marginality? Anti-immigration Sentiment and Nativist Political Movements in France, Germany, and the USA’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 26 (2002), 523; Citrin, Jack, Green, Donald P., Muste, Christopher and Wong, Cara, ‘Public Opinion Toward Immigration Reform: The Role of Economic Motivations’, Journal of Politics, 59 (1997), 858881; and Citrin, Jack, Green, Donald P. and Reingold, Beth, ‘American Identity and the Politics of Ethnic Change’, Journal of Politics, 52 (1990), 11241153.

12 Politicization is defined as a process encouraging citizens to incorporate a given issue, event or observation into their political attitudes and concerns. This definition differs only slightly from the common definition as the incorporation of an issue into party competition (at the elite level) and voting decisions (at the mass level). For one such usage, see Garbaye, Getting into Local Power, chap. 2.

13 Bowyer, Benjamin T., ‘Local Context and Extreme Right Support in England: The British National Party in the 2002 and 2003 Local Elections’, Electoral Studies, 27 (2008), 611620; Dancygier, ‘The Politics of Race and Immigration in Britain’; Dancygier, Immigration and Conflict in Europe; and Husbands, Racial Exclusionism and the City.

14 Johnston, Ron, Pattie, Charles, Dorling, Daniel, MacAllister, Iain, Tunstall, Helena and Rossiter, David, ‘Local Context, Retrospective Economic Evaluations, and Voting: The 1997 General Election in England and Wales’, Political Behavior, 22 (2000), 121143; MacAllister, I. et al. , ‘Class Dealignment and the Neighborhood Effect: Miller Revisited’, British Journal of Political Science, 31 (2001), 4159; Dustmann and Preston, ‘Attitudes to Ethnic Minorities, Ethnic Context, and Location Decisions’; and King, Gary, ‘Why Context Shouldn’t Count, Political Geography, 15 (1996), 159164.

15 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, International Migration Outlook (Paris: OECD, 2008); Passel, Jeffrey S. and Suro, Robert, Rise, Peak, and Decline: Trends in U.S. Immigration, 1992–2004 (Washington, D.C.: Pew Hispanic Center, 2006).

16 Hopkins, Daniel J., ‘Politicized Places: Explaining Where and When Immigrants Provoke Local Opposition’, American Political Science Review, 104 (2010), 4060.

17 Messina, Race and Party Competition in Britain; Dancygier, ‘The Politics of Race and Immigration in Britain’.

18 On Britain, see Laurence and Heath, ‘Predictors of Community Cohesion’; Bowyer, ‘Local Context and Extreme Right Support in England’; Bowyer, ‘The Contextual Determinants of Whites’ Racial Attitudes in England’; Dancygier, ‘The Politics of Race and Immigration in Britain’; Dancygier, Immigration and Conflict in Europe; and Money, Jeanette, Fences and Neighbors: The Political Geography of Immigration Control (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1999). On the United States, see Fox, Cybelle, ‘The Color of Welfare? How Whites’ Attitudes Towards Latinos Influence Support for Welfare’, American Journal of Sociology, 110 (2004), 580625; Cain, Bruce, Citrin, Jack and Wong, Cara, Ethnic Context, Race Relations, and California Politics (San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California, 2000); and Taylor, Marylee C., ‘How White Attitudes Vary with the Racial Composition of Local Populations: Numbers Count’, American Sociological Review, 63 (1998), 512535.

19 Huckfeldt, Robert and Sprague, John, Citizens, Politics and Social Communication: Information and Influence in an Election Campaign (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995). ‘Neighbourhood effect’ is a synonym.

20 Key, Southern Politics.

21 Hansen, , Immigration and Citizenship in Post-war Britain, p. 185.

22 Bowyer, ‘Local Context and Extreme Right Support in England’; Bowyer, ‘The Contextual Determinants of Whites’ Racial Attitudes in England’; Dancygier, ‘The Politics of Race and Immigration in Britain’; Dustmann and Preston, ‘Attitudes to Ethnic Minorities, Ethnic Context, and Location Decisions’; and Money, Fences and Neighbors.

23 Eric Oliver, J. and Wong, Janelle, ‘Intergroup Prejudice in Multiethnic Settings’, American Journal of Political Science, 47 (2003), 567582; Hero, Rodney E., Faces of Inequality: Social Diversity in American Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998); Taylor, ‘How White Attitudes Vary with the Racial Composition of Local Populations’; Glaser, James M., ‘Back to the Black Belt: Racial Environment and White Racial Attitudes in the South’, Journal of Politics, 56 (1994), 2141; Giles, Michael W. and Buckner, Melanie A., ‘David Duke and Black Threat: An Old Hypothesis Revisited’, Journal of Politics, 55 (1993), 702713; and Wright, Gerald C., ‘Contextual Models of Electoral Behavior: The Southern Wallace Vote’, American Political Science Review, 71 (1977), 497508.

24 Coffé et al., ‘Fertile Grounds for Extreme Right-Wing Parties’; McLaren, Lauren, ‘Anti-Immigrant Prejudice in Europe: Contact, Threat Perception, and Preferences for the Exclusion of Migrants’, Social Forces, 81 (2003), 909936; Gang, Ira N., Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L. and Yun, Myeong-Su, ‘Economic Strain, Ethnic Concentration, and Attitudes Towards Foreigners in the European Union’ (Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor Discussion Paper 578, 2002).

25 Scheve, Kenneth and Slaughter, Matthew, ‘Labor Market Competition and Individual Preferences over Immigration Policy’, Review of Economics and Statistics, 83 (2001), 133145; Olzak, Susan, The Dynamics of Ethnic Competition (Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1992).

26 Gay, Claudine, ‘Seeing Difference: The Effect of Economic Disparity on Black Attitudes Toward Latinos’, American Journal of Political Science, 50 (2006), 982997; Branton, Regina P. and Jones, Bradford S., ‘Re-examining Racial Attitudes: The Conditional Relationship Between Diversity and Socioeconomic Environment’, American Journal of Political Science, 49 (2005), 359372; and Tolnay, Stewart E. and Beck, E. M., A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882–1930 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995).

27 Campbell, Andrea L., Wong, Cara and Citrin, Jack, ‘ “Racial Threat,” Partisan Climate, and Direct Democracy: Contextual Effects in Three California Initiatives’, Political Behavior, 28 (2006), 129150; Fox, ‘The Color of Welfare?’ Dixon, Jeffrey C. and Rosenbaum, Michael S., ‘Nice to Know You? Testing Contact, Cultural, and Group Threat Theories of Anti-Black and Anti-Hispanic Stereotypes’, Social Science Quarterly, 85 (2004), 257280; Eric Oliver, J. and Mendelberg, Tali, ‘Reconsidering the Environmental Determinants of White Racial Attitudes’, American Journal of Political Science, 44 (2000), 574589; and Taylor, ‘How White Attitudes Vary with the Racial Composition of Local Populations’.

28 Jones-Correa, Michael, Between Two Nations: The Political Predicament of Latinos in New York City (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1998); Lawrence, Black Migrants, White Natives.

29 Fischer, Mary J., ‘The Relative Importance of Income and Race in Determining Residential Outcomes in US Urban Areas, 1970–2000’, Urban Affairs Review, 38 (2003), 669696; Phillips, Deborah, ‘Black Minority Ethnic Concentration, Segregation and Dispersal in Britain’, Urban Studies, 35 (1998), 16811702.

30 See especially Wong, Cara, ‘Objective vs. Subjective Context: Questions about the Mechanism Linking Racial Context to Political Attitudes’, 2008; and Wong, Cara, ‘Little and Big Pictures in Our Heads: Race, Local Context, and Innumeracy about Racial Groups in the U.S.’, Public Opinion Quarterly, 71 (2007), 392412.

31 Chiricos, Ted, Hogan, Michael and Gertz, Marc, ‘Racial Composition of the Neighborhood and Fear of Crime’, Criminology, 35 (1997), 107129.

32 Hopkins, Daniel J., Tran, Van C. and Fisher Williamson, Abigail, ‘See No Spanish: Language, Local Context, and Attitudes toward Immigration’ (unpublished, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., 2010).

33 Empirical analyses in this vein typically focus on the nation as the threatened unit, but there are arguments that emphasize local identity as well. See especially Horton, John, The Politics of Diversity: Immigration, Resistance, and Change in Monterey Park, California (Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University Press, 1995).

34 Citrin et al., ‘Public Opinion towards Immigration Reform’; Higham, Strangers in the Land; and Citrin et al. ‘American Identity and the Politics of Ethnic Change’.

35 Sides and Citrin, ‘European Opinion about Immigration,’; Fetzer, ‘Economic Self interest or cultural marginality?’; and Sniderman et al., ‘Predisposing Factors and Situational Triggers.’ For parallel claims about African Americans in the U.S., see Kinder, Donald R. and Sanders, Lynn M., Divided by Color: Racial Politics and Democratic Ideals (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1996).

36 Sides and Citrin, ‘European Opinion about Immigration’, p. 501.

37 Hansen, , Immigration and Citizenship in Post-war Britain, p. 210.

38 Huntington, Samuel, Who Are We? America’s National Identity and the Challenges it Faces (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004).

39 Here, we define frames as conceptual frameworks that ‘define what the problem is and how to think about it’, following Kinder, Donald R., ‘Communication and Opinion’, Annual Review of Political Science, 1 (1998), 167197.

40 Although the make-up of the immigrant population is an alternative explanation, it changes too slowly to explain the relatively swift shifts in concern about immigration. For more, see Card, David, Dustmann, Christian and Preston, Ian, ‘Understanding Attitudes to Immigration: The Migration and Minority Module of the First European Social Survey’ (London: Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration, 2005).

41 On shares of an out-group, see Key, Southern Politics. On changing population shares, see Green, Donald P., Strolovitch, Dara Z. and Wong, Janelle S., ‘Defended Neighborhoods, Integration, and Racially Motivated Crime, American Journal of Sociology, 104 (1998), 372403.

42 Ellen Gould, Ingrid, Sharing America’s Neighborhoods: The Prospects for Stable Racial Integration (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000).

43 Horton, The Politics of Diversity.

44 Kinder, ‘Communication and Opinion’; and Mutz, Diana C., ‘Contextualizing Personal Experience: The Role of Mass Media’, Journal of Politics, 56 (1994), 689714.

45 Iyengar, Shanto and Kinder, Donald R., News that Matters (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).

46 Chwe, Michael, Rational Ritual: Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001).

47 Monin, Benoit and Miller, Dale T., ‘Moral Credentials and the Expression of Prejudice’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81 (2001), 3343; Mendelberg, Tali, The Race Card: Campaign Strategy, Implicit Messages, and the Norm of Equality (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001).

48 For simplicity, this analysis assumes that the salience of national politics outweighs that of sub-national politics. But the same argument applies to salient rhetoric at all levels of a political system, from state governments in the United States to the governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

49 The notion of salience is invoked in both research on agenda-setting and political psychology, and here refers to the relative attention political elites pay to various issues in their public statements and actions.

50 Money, Fences and Neighbors, chap. 4.

51 Solomos, John and Black, Les, Race, Politics and Social Change (New York: Routledge, 1995).

52 See Johnston et al., ‘Local Context, Retrospective Economic Evaluations, and Voting’; MacAllister et al., ‘Class Dealignment and the Neighborhood Effect’; Dustmann and Preston, ‘Attitudes to Ethnic Minorities, Ethnic Context, and Location Decisions’; and King, ‘Why Context Shouldn’t Count’.

53 Hopkins, ‘Politicized Places’.

54 Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, February 2001 ‘News Interest Survey’ and 2006 ‘Immigration Survey’. Available online at: [accessed 17 February, 2008].

55 Passel and Suro, Rise, Peak, and Decline.

56 The International Migration Outlook confirms that annual immigrant inflows to the United States declined by 0.8 per cent from 2000 to 2006 (Paris: OECD, 2010), p. 41.

57 Both the 2001 and 2006 Pew surveys are available for download at: [accessed 4 October 2008]. For the 2006 survey, which is our focus here, the AAPOR RR1 response rate was 25.2 per cent.

58 See [accessed 9 November 2008].

59 USA Today coverage of immigration also correlates highly with coverage on television channels such as Fox News (Pearson’s correlation of 0.73) and CBS News (Pearson’s correlation of 0.69), making it an effective metric of media attention overall.

60 The possibility that these groups might respond to neighbouring immigrants in very different ways led to 196 respondents born outside the United States, 103 US-born Hispanics and 14 US-born Asian Americans being removed. The results are not sensitive to this choice.

61 Currently, the ACS samples many but not all US localities.

62 King, Gary et al. , ‘Analyzing Incomplete Political Science Data: An Alternative Algorithm for Multiple Imputation’, American Political Science Review, 95 (2001), 4969.

63 For example, 10 per cent of respondents fail to provide their income. In total, 41 per cent of the respondents would be lost to listwise deletion.

64 The median US county had 250,000 residents as of 2000, making these large contextual units. By contrast, the median ZIP code had just 22,300 residents.

65 Frey, William H., Diversity Spreads Out: Metropolitan Shifts in Hispanic, Asian, and Black Populations Since 2000 (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 2006).

66 Fischer, ‘The Relative Importance of Income and Race in Determining Residential Outcomes in U.S. Urban Areas, 1970–2000’.

67 Analysing the question about the most important problem facing the community yields substantively similar results despite the reduced variation in response categories.

68 Partisanship is indicated by a seven-category partisan identification question. Income is the respondent’s total annual family income.

69 Appendix available at:

70 They are similarly robust when conditioning on the respondent’s answer to the question, ‘most recent immigrants do or do not learn English within a reasonable amount of time’, which is related to conceptions of cultural threat.

71 Hewitt, Roger, White Backlash and the Politics of Multiculturalism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005); Solomos and Back, Race, Politics, and Social Change; Solomos, Race and Racism in Britain; and Husbands, Racial Exclusionism and the City.

72 Husbands, , Racial Exclusionism and the City, p. 8.

73 Sanders, David, Whiteley, Paul, Clarke, Harold and Stewart, Marianne, ‘2005/6 British Election Study’ [Computer file] Available online at: [accessed 29 January 2008].

74 The AAPOR RR1 response rate for the first wave was 60.5 per cent. Of those interviewed in the pre-election wave, the post-election RR1 response rate was 87.6 per cent.

75 Specifically, it reflects the number of articles in a sample of roughly 100 British newspapers available through Lexis-Nexis.

76 See Kavanagh, Dennis and Butler, David, The British General Election of 2005 (New York: Macmillan, 2005); and Whiteley, Paul, Stewart, Marianne C., Sanders, David and Clarke, Harold D., ‘The Issue Agenda and Voting in 2005’, in Pippa Norris and Christopher Wlezien, eds, Britain Votes 2005 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 146161. Elite attention to immigration also briefly spiked prior to the pre-election interviews, but since we capture that increased attention in our baseline survey, it does not invalidate inferences about changing the contextual influence.

77 Gould, Philip, ‘Labour’s Political Strategy’, in Dominic Wring, Jane Gren, Roger Mortimore, and Simon Atkinson, eds, Political Communications: The General Election Campaign of 2005 (New York: Macmillan, 2007), and Kavanagh and Butler, The British General Election of 2005.

78 Kavanagh and Butler, The British General Election of 2005.

79 The Economist, How Immigration Played (14 May 2005); [accessed 18 September 2009].

80 Johnston, Ron and Harris, Rich, ‘Neighbourhood Data to be used with the 2005 British Election Study, 2006’. Available online at: [accessed 17 March 2008].

81 The respondent’s educational level was measured by sorting 18 qualifications/degrees into 8 ordered categories. The results reported below are robust to including each of the categories as indicator variables as well.

82 Contextual data for low levels of aggregation are not available for respondents living in Scotland.

83 Very similar substantive results appear when we restrict the analysis to fully observed respondents.

84 Table 4 in the online Appendix contains the full fitted model.

85 Zaller, John R., The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992).

86 Specifically, this figure is created using the two logistic regression models, one fitted to the pre-election data and the second fitted to the post-election data. In each case, we simulate 10,000 sets of coefficients from their estimated joint distribution to account for model-based uncertainty. With these coefficients, we can then simulate the influence of shifting the local context from its 10th percentile to its 90th percentile while holding other variables constant. This procedure yields simulated changes in the probability of naming immigration as the most important problem. The distributions in Figure 5 deviate from the normal distribution both because of the simulation and because they reflect changes in bounded probabilities.

87 Specifically, these additional robustness tests included the percentage with no qualifications, the percentage in the lowest socio-economic group, the percentage of first-time voters, the percentage without children, the percentage in poor health, the percentage working part-time, the percentage of full-time students, the percentage in professional/managerial positions, the percentage in skilled trades, the percentage in agriculture, the percentage in manufacturing, the percentage of households with a lone pensioner, the percentage of households with fewer than one person per room, the percentage of households with no central heating, the percentage of households without a car, and the percentage of the economically active in highly paid professions. The percentage non-white is very highly correlated with the percentage born outside Britain (0.87), meaning that we cannot distinguish empirically between ethnic differences and immigrant/native differences.

88 Given the recent research by Bowyer demonstrating that the presence of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis produces ‘threat’ most consistently, it is worth noting that in these data, both the percentage South Asian and the percentage black are independent, positive predictors of indicating that immigration is Britain’s most important problem. The coefficient for the percentage black is significant (with a t statistic of 2.13) while the coefficient for the percentage South Asian is not (t = 1.35). The same groups do not always drive contextual effects, it seems. See Bowyer, ‘Local Context and Extreme Right Support in England’, and Bowyer, ‘The Determinants of Whites’ Racial Attitudes in England’ for related work.

89 The Economist, How Immigration Played.

90 Van Heerde, Jennifer, ‘Political Communication: Party Advertising in the General Elections’, in Dominic Wring, Jane Green, Roger Mortimore and Simon Atkinson, eds, Political Communications: The General Election Campaign of 2005 (New York: Macmillan, 2007), 6578.

91 Fieldhouse, Edward and Cutts, David, ‘The Effectiveness of Local Party Campaigns in 2005: Combining Evidence from Campaign Spending and Agent Survey Data’, British Journal of Political Science, 39 (2009), 367388.

92 The measure of competitiveness is a Herfindahl index of vote concentration among Labour, the Conservative Party, and the Labour party.

93 Newspaper content might vary across papers, and especially across papers with different party affiliations. We are thus also interested in whether reading particular newspapers interacts with one’s local context. Deacon et al. provide a listing of newspapers by partisanship: Deacon, David, Wring, Dominic and Golding, Peter, ‘The “Take a Break Campaign?”: National Print Media Reporting of the Election’, in Dominic Wring, Jane Green, Roger Mortimore and Simon Atkinson, eds, Political Communications: The General Election Campaign of 2005 (New York: Macmillan, 2007). The average post-election contextual effect for those who read papers supporting the Conservatives is 10.5 percentage points, while for other respondents it is 4.8 percentage points. The p-value for the one-sided test that the effect is smaller among readers of Tory-leaning papers is 0.058. However, we do not see a strong interaction between the respondent’s own party loyalties and the post-election contextual effect. Nor do we see an interaction between the respondent’s education level and the neighbourhood effect. To the extent that the Conservative-leaning papers were more likely to emphasize immigration issues, these findings are yet more evidence for the ‘politicized places’ approach. How one responds to local experiences depends on the frames that connect those experiences to politics.

94 In a similar vein, one might wonder if the effects of living near foreign-born residents are especially pronounced in economically deprived areas, a possibility suggested by theories of realistic group conflict. Yet in fact, separate models detect no strong interaction between the proportion of foreign born and variables including the local percentage unemployed, the percentage in routine jobs, or the percentage with no qualifications. Put differently, respondents are not more concerned about immigration in places where their neighbours are especially economically vulnerable.

95 See Page, Benjamin I. and Shapiro, Robert Y., The Rational Public: Fifty Years of Trends in Americans’ Policy Preferences (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992); Zaller, The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion; and Iyengar and Kinder, News That Matters.

96 See Kinder, ‘Communication and Opinion’; and Mutz, ‘Contextualizing Personal Experience’.

97 See Chong, Dennis and Druckman, James N., ‘A Theory of Framing and Opinion Formation’, Journal of Communication, 57 (2007), 99118; and Chong, Dennis and Druckman, James N., ‘Framing Public Opinion in Competitive Democracies’, American Political Science Review, 101 (2007), 637655.

98 Butler, David and Stokes, Donald, Political Change in Britain: The Evolution of Electoral Choice (London: Macmillan, 1975), p. 209.

99 Gould, Sharing America’s Neighborhoods, and Sugrue, Thomas J., The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996).

* Department of Government, Georgetown University (email: ). The author gratefully acknowledges the Yale Center for the Study of American Politics, the Saguaro Seminar at Harvard University, the Institute for Social Change at the University of Manchester, and the Department of Political Science at MIT for institutional support. Benjamin Bowyer, Tom Clark, Rafaela Dancygier, Edward Fieldhouse, Robert Ford, Ron Johnston, Matthew Klayman, Gabriel Lenz, Marc Meredith, Alison Post, Robert D. Putnam, Cara Wong, and members of the MIT “Work in Progress” seminar, the Harvard Applied Statistics Seminar and the Dartmouth American Politics Seminar kindly provided feedback on or assistance with this research. The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press bears no responsibility for the analysis or interpretations of the data presented here.

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