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Effects of Divisive Political Campaigns on the Day-to-Day Segregation of Arab and Muslim Americans

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 December 2018

Cornell University
Michigan State University
*William Hobbs, Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and the Department of Political Science, Cornell University,
Nazita Lajevardi, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University,


How have Donald Trump’s rhetoric and policies affected Arab and Muslim American behavior? We provide evidence that the de facto effects of President Trump’s campaign rhetoric and vague policy positions extended beyond the direct effects of his executive orders. We present findings from three data sources—television news coverage, social media activity, and a survey—to evaluate whether Arab and Muslim Americans reduced their online visibility and retreated from public life. Our results provide evidence that they withdrew from public view: (1) Shared locations on Twitter dropped approximately 10 to 20% among users with Arabic-sounding names after major campaign and election events and (2) Muslim survey respondents reported increased public space avoidance.

Copyright © American Political Science Association 2019 

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We thank seminar participants at the Midwest Political Science Association annual conference, Marisa Abrajano, Taylor Carlson, Justin Grimmer, Zoltan Hajnal, Kenny Joseph, John Kuk, Nick Obradovich, Kassra Oskooii, Liesel Spangler, and Zachary Steinert-Threlkeld for their helpful comments. Funding for this project was generously provided by a UCSD PDEL grant. Replication materials can be found on Dataverse at:



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