Nav: Home

Research suggests Trump's 'Muslim ban' produced rare shift in public opinion

January 12, 2018

President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13769 on Jan. 27, 2017, effectively barring individuals from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days.

Within a day of his decree, thousands of protesters flooded airports around the country in opposition to what was quickly deemed a "Muslim ban," and by March 6, the order had been formally revoked.

According to a political scientist at the University of California, Riverside, and his colleagues, visible resistance to the order in the immediate aftermath of its signing may have produced a rare shift in public opinion that resulted in mass opposition to Trump's policy.

The shift was caused by "an influx of information portraying the ban as being at odds with egalitarian principles of American identity and religious liberty," said researchers Loren Collingwood, an assistant professor of political science at UCR; Nazita Lajevardi of Michigan State University; and Kassra A. R. Oskooii of the University of Delaware.

Their findings, published last week in the journal Political Behavior, suggest the bounty of information that surfaced after the order went into effect -- information that painted the ban as deeply un-American and in fact "incompatible with American values" -- contributed to a broad-based increase in opposition to it.

The researchers compared the results of two surveys of the same 311 people -- one conducted just days before the order's announcement, and the other in the two weeks after. They found that among those respondents, more than 30 percent moved against the ban in the interim.

Those who shifted most radically, meanwhile, were "high American identifiers." Such respondents were shown to consider their status as Americans who belong to one nation to be a defining element of their identities.

Media coverage of anti-ban demonstrations, the researchers noted, often depicted protesters "shrouded in American flags," visually linking the concept of more inclusive immigration policies to American egalitarianism. The movement against the ban also benefited from the outspokenness of various news commentators and publications, many of whom were quick to criticize the order by characterizing it as antithetical to core American ideals.

To test their results, the researchers also looked at attitudes toward two other hot-button issues linked to executive orders that were signed just days before No. 13769: the Keystone Pipeline and the U.S.-Mexico border wall. They found that although attitudes toward both did shift slightly, the differences were not statistically significant.

The profound response to the ban, the researchers wrote, represents "one instance in which the priming of American identity shifted citizens' opinions toward more inclusive, rather than restrictive, immigration-related policy stances."

Overall, their findings suggest that American identity can be "primed" to produce shifts in public opinion. It also demonstrates that public opinion may be more malleable than previously thought, especially as certain policy issues cycle in and out of the news.
-end-


University of California - Riverside

Related Public Opinion Articles:

Political affiliation, weight influence your opinion on fighting obesity, study finds
Self-reported overweight people, if they were Democrats are more likely to believe genetic factors cause obesity, while Republicans who see themselves are overweight still assign eating habits and lifestyle choices as the cause, according to a new study by two University of Kansas researchers.
Public health experts support federally mandated smoke-free public housing
In response to a new federal rule mandating smoke-free policies in federally funded public housing authorities, three public health experts applaud the efforts of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to protect nonsmoking residents from the harmful effects of tobacco exposure.
Americans lack awareness about heart valve disease, new public opinion surveys find
New public opinion surveys from the Alliance for Aging Research reveal the urgent need for more awareness about heart valve disease.
Elsevier announces the launch of a new journal: Current Opinion in Electrochemistry
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and solutions, announces the launch of a new journal: Current Opinion in Electrochemistry.
AJR opinion piece considers managing the radiation dose while communicating the risk
Despite evidence that low doses of ionizing radiation associated with imaging are not dangerous, the medical community is frequently faced with the challenge of communicating the risk and managing the dose.
To strengthen an opinion, simply say it is based on morality
Simply telling people that their opinions are based on morality will make them stronger and more resistant to counterarguments, a new study suggests.
Elsevier announces the launch of Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and solutions, announces the launch of a new journal: Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry.
JAMA Oncology: An expert opinion on how to address the skyrocketing prices of cancer drugs
Many patients with cancer find themselves in great financial distress, in part because the costs of cancer-fighting drugs are skyrocketing.
New tool for gauging public opinion reveals skepticism of climate engineering
Members of the public find the risks of climate engineering technology more likely than any of the benefits, according to an article published in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Climate-change foes winning public opinion war
As world leaders meet this week and next at a historic climate change summit in Paris, a new study by Michigan State University environmental scientists suggests opponents of climate change appear to be winning the war of words.

Related Public Opinion Reading:

Public Opinion
by Walter Lippmann (Author)

Public Opinion: Democratic Ideals, Democratic Practice
by Rosalee A. Clawson (Author), Zoe M. Oxley (Author)

Public Opinion
by Walter Lippmann (Author)

Public Opinion
by Carroll J. Glynn (Author), Susan Herbst (Author), Mark Lindeman (Author), Garrett J. O'Keefe (Author)

American Public Opinion: Its Origins, Content and Impact
by Robert S Erikson (Author), Kent L. Tedin (Author)

Crystallizing Public Opinion
by Edward Bernays (Author), Stuart Ewen (Introduction)

Public Opinion
by Walter Lippmann (Author)

Public Opinion: Measuring the American Mind
by Barbara A. Bardes (Author), Robert W. Oldendick (Author)

New Directions in Public Opinion (New Directions in American Politics)
by Adam J. Berinsky (Editor)

Setting the Agenda: Mass Media and Public Opinion
by Maxwell McCombs (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Dying Well
Is there a way to talk about death candidly, without fear ... and even with humor? How can we best prepare for it with those we love? This hour, TED speakers explore the beauty of life ... and death. Guests include lawyer Jason Rosenthal, humorist Emily Levine, banker and travel blogger Michelle Knox, mortician Caitlin Doughty, and entrepreneur Lux Narayan.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#492 Flint Water Crisis
This week we dig into the Flint water crisis: what happened, how it got so bad, what turned the tide, what's still left to do, and the mix of science, politics, and activism that are still needed to finish pulling Flint out of the crisis. We spend the hour with Dr Mona Hanna-Attisha, a physician, scientist, activist, the founder and director of the Pediatric Public Health Initiative, and author of the book "What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City".