Immigration, race & political polarization

Michael Hout, Christopher Maggio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Americans’ views of immigration are substantially more positive than political discourse since 2010 might suggest. And they are becoming more positive. So too are Whites’ views of Blacks, as racial resentment declined from 2010 to 2018. Views of immigration and race became more correlated over the last twenty years. And both are more correlated with political party preference now than at any time on record. While Republicans’ views of immigration and their racial resentment have changed very little since 2010, Democrats’ views of immigration have become far more positive and their racial resentment has declined substantially. The consequences of these trends were borne out dramatically in the 2016 presidential election. In combination, the two attitudes predict well who voted for Trump and who voted for Clinton. These trends and correlations make clear that xenophobic Americans are not ascendant, they are desperate. The dynamics of race, immigration, and polarization tilt in favor of both more immigration and a more progressive view of racial disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-55
Number of pages16
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 4 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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