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Bridging the Partisan Divide on Immigration Policy Attitudes

Thu, August 31, 10:00 to 11:30am, Hilton Union Square, Golden Gate 4


To date, while there is a rich literature describing the determinants of anti-immigrant sentiment, researchers have not identified a mechanism to reduce antipathy towards immigrants. In fact, extant research has shown that efforts to induce positive attitudes toward immigrants often backfire. What if we utilized a bridging frame strategy? 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 a survey experiment in which we manipulate whether immigration is linked with the bipartisan issue area of human trafficking in a nationally representative sample of the U.S. adult population. We find that in forcing individuals to reconcile the fact that a widely accepted issue position of combating trafficking also requires a reassessment in immigration policies, we can positively shift attitudes on immigration.