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Fear and Learning in the Illegal Immigration Debate
Unformatted Document Text:  (2 pro-immigration and 2 anti-immigration) and 2 non-immigration stories, allowing us to measure actual political choices in a relatively balanced but affectively charged political environment (see Table 2). We included the 2 non-immigration stories so that subjects could follow directions to read stories, but opt out of the immigration debate. Story order was randomized so that attention and recall should not be biased by story order. Subjects had unlimited time to read any, all, or none of the stories, and we recorded which stories they read, in what order they read those stories, and how much time they spent on each story and in total. After the information search section, subjects answered a series of questions on immigration policy – whether immigrants should be eligible for a number of social services, how much the government should spend on border security, and general immigration attitudes. Table 2: Story TitlesPositive A Story of Two ImmigrantsImmigrants to Be Proud Of Negative Gangs in the US: How Illegal Immigrants Complicate Law EnforcementWhy unskilled immigrants hurt America Non-Immigration Report: One in five children will become obese Mysterious stone slab bears ancient writing To ensure that respondents experienced a dynamic information experience and a more realistic experimental environment, subjects completed the study online in their homes. The 440 subjects came from an online panel of respondents, and we over-sampled blacks and Latinos. The sample is composed of 145 self-identified whites, 148 African Americans and 147 Latino respondents. Most surveys and experiments explore the immigration attitudes of one racial group at a time (Brader, Valentino, and Suhay 2008; Nteta 2006; Pew 2007), so this experiment provides a way to evaluate the effect of immigration messages on a broader portion of the public. 12

Authors: Gadarian, Shana. and Albertson, Bethany.
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(2 pro-immigration and 2 anti-immigration) and 2 non-immigration stories, allowing us to
measure actual political choices in a relatively balanced but affectively charged political
environment (see Table 2). We included the 2 non-immigration stories so that subjects could
follow directions to read stories, but opt out of the immigration debate. Story order was
randomized so that attention and recall should not be biased by story order. Subjects had
unlimited time to read any, all, or none of the stories, and we recorded which stories they read, in
what order they read those stories, and how much time they spent on each story and in total.
After the information search section, subjects answered a series of questions on immigration
policy – whether immigrants should be eligible for a number of social services, how much the
government should spend on border security, and general immigration attitudes.
Table 2: Story Titles
Positive
A Story of Two Immigrants
Immigrants to Be Proud Of
Negative
Gangs in the US: How Illegal Immigrants Complicate Law Enforcement
Why unskilled immigrants hurt America
Non-Immigration Report: One in five children will become obese
Mysterious stone slab bears ancient writing
To ensure that respondents experienced a dynamic information experience and a more
realistic experimental environment, subjects completed the study online in their homes. The 440
subjects came from an online panel of respondents, and we over-sampled blacks and Latinos.
The sample is composed of 145 self-identified whites, 148 African Americans and 147 Latino
respondents. Most surveys and experiments explore the immigration attitudes of one racial group
at a time (Brader, Valentino, and Suhay 2008; Nteta 2006; Pew 2007), so this experiment
provides a way to evaluate the effect of immigration messages on a broader portion of the public.
12


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