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Bridging the Partisan Divide on Immigration Policy Attitudes through a Bipartisan Issue Area: The Case of Human Trafficking

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 May 2018

Tabitha Bonilla
Affiliation:
Institute of Policy Research, Northwestern University, 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60202-4100, USA, e-mail: tabitha.bonilla@northwestern.edu
Cecilia Hyunjung Mo
Affiliation:
Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, 210 Barrows Hall #1950, Berkeley, CA 94720-1950, USA, e-mail: cecilia.h.mo@berkeley.edu

Abstract

To date, while there is a rich literature describing the determinants of anti-immigrant sentiment, researchers have not identified a mechanism to reduce antipathy toward immigrants. In fact, extant research has shown that efforts to induce positive attitudes toward immigrants often backfire. What if a bridging frame strategy were employed? Can a bipartisan issue area in which there is general support act as a bridging frame to elicit more positive sentiment toward immigration among those who oppose more open immigration policies? We explore this question by conducting two survey experiments in which we manipulate whether immigration is linked with the bipartisan issue area of human trafficking. We find that in forcing individuals to reconcile the fact that a widely accepted issue position of combating trafficking also requires a reassessment of immigration policies, we can positively shift attitudes on immigration.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Experimental Research Section of the American Political Science Association 2018 

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