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Fear and Learning in the Illegal Immigration Debate
Unformatted Document Text:  the experimental treatments. We find that partisanship moderates subjects’ evaluation of the information about immigration within the experiment suggests that even when anxiety is present, individuals do not necessarily cast partisanship aside in forming attitudes. Figures 3 and 4 display white respondents’ mean immigration attitudes by experimental condition and partisanship. We present only the attitudes for whites since only the white sample contains enough variation in partisanship to warrant splitting across both conditions and partisanship. In total, out of 83 Republicans in a total sample of 440 (18 %), only 8 of those respondents identified as African American and 22 as Latino. Additionally, as we expected that whites would react to the threatening cues in the fear condition in a different manor than Latinos, we present them separately. Figures 3 and 4 demonstrate that partisanship significantly influences how whites view the immigration issue. While Democrats and Republicans watched the same threatening ads about immigration, they reacted significantly differently in expressing their attitudes. Like African Americans, Democrats’ social services and border security spending attitudes were unmoved by either the exploitation or fear ads. White Democrats may face the same type of ambivalence that African Americans face in evaluating arguments about immigration and income may play a role in attitudes in a way we do not capture here. However, consistent with expectations, white Republicans support significantly more punitive immigration policies in the fear condition than in the exploitation condition. The fear condition clearly resonated more forcefully with Republicans in increasing anxiety about the fate of the country – Republicans were significantly more negative about providing humanitarian and entitlement services in the fear condition than in the exploitation condition (p<.03, p<.02 respectively). This is not to say that Republicans only respond to the fear condition though – the exploitation condition did lead 29

Authors: Gadarian, Shana. and Albertson, Bethany.
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the experimental treatments. We find that partisanship moderates subjects’ evaluation of the
information about immigration within the experiment suggests that even when anxiety is present,
individuals do not necessarily cast partisanship aside in forming attitudes. Figures 3 and 4
display white respondents’ mean immigration attitudes by experimental condition and
partisanship. We present only the attitudes for whites since only the white sample contains
enough variation in partisanship to warrant splitting across both conditions and partisanship. In
total, out of 83 Republicans in a total sample of 440 (18 %), only 8 of those respondents
identified as African American and 22 as Latino. Additionally, as we expected that whites would
react to the threatening cues in the fear condition in a different manor than Latinos, we present
them separately.
Figures 3 and 4 demonstrate that partisanship significantly influences how whites view
the immigration issue. While Democrats and Republicans watched the same threatening ads
about immigration, they reacted significantly differently in expressing their attitudes. Like
African Americans, Democrats’ social services and border security spending attitudes were
unmoved by either the exploitation or fear ads. White Democrats may face the same type of
ambivalence that African Americans face in evaluating arguments about immigration and
income may play a role in attitudes in a way we do not capture here. However, consistent with
expectations, white Republicans support significantly more punitive immigration policies in the
fear condition than in the exploitation condition. The fear condition clearly resonated more
forcefully with Republicans in increasing anxiety about the fate of the country – Republicans
were significantly more negative about providing humanitarian and entitlement services in the
fear condition than in the exploitation condition (p<.03, p<.02 respectively). This is not to say
that Republicans only respond to the fear condition though – the exploitation condition did lead
29


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