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Brader Valentino

Brader Valentino - Although perceived harm is a plausible...

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Although perceived harm is a plausible mediator of group cue effects, we suspect a different mechanism is at work. Racial or ethnic cues may trigger emotional reac- tions, such as anxiety, which may cause changes in opinion and behavior independently of changes in beliefs about the severity of the immigration problem . This argument differs dramatically from traditional research on political threats, which tends to highlight the impact of cognitively based perceptions (Miller and Krosnick 2004). Recent research suggests that emotions play a central role in both political judgment and behavior (Marcus, Neuman, and MacKuen 2000). Popular attitudes often seem to mirror these patterns in elite discourse. Public opinion about immigration runs heavily toward opposition (Simon and Lynch 1999), with a plurality of Americans preferring to reduce the number of immigrants or hold it constant. The share of the pub- lic favoring increases in immigration is consistently tiny, usually hovering around 10%. we examine three characteristics of that discourse: emphasis on costs and benefits, ethnic identity cues, and portrayal of immigrants as low- or high-skilled workers.
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