Immigration, Public Opinion, Hispanic, Southern Distinctiveness, Immigrant Backlash, Social Contact, Economic Insecurity, Political Knowledge, National Identity, Patriotism, Group Pride, Racism
Few issues in the contemporary American political and social environments are as salient and emotionally charged as the debate over immigration. The thesis tests several competing hypotheses concerning the determinants of public opinion among white respondents on immigration issues. These include: the contextual considerations of southern residence and proximity to large numbers of Hispanic immigrants, as well as the individual-level factors of economic insecurity, political knowledge, national identity, group pride, and racism. Using data from the 2004 American National Election Study, the thesis provides a critical test of the competing hypotheses using multivariate analysis. Furthermore, conditional relationships are posited, facilitating a more refined analysis of the structure of attitudes on immigration issues. The results indicate that racism, group pride, symbolic patriotism, ideology, and isolationism are the most consistent and significant predictors of immigration policy preferences. The use of four distinct dependent variable questions also highlights the inconsistency in public opinion regarding immigration and the division between public perception of documented and undocumented entries. Future research should focus on the interrelationship between variables that are used by the individual to define group associations, as well as the change in national and personal identity brought about by the events of September 11th, 2001.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Bulkley, Celeste, "White Opinions Of United States Immigration: Testing Rival Hypotheses, 2004" (2006). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1059.