A Change of Heart? Why Individual-Level Public Opinion Shifted Against Trump’s “Muslim Ban”

  • Loren Collingwood
  • Nazita Lajevardi
  • Kassra A. R. Oskooii
Original Paper

Abstract

Public opinion research suggests that rapid and significant individual-level fluctuations in opinions toward various policies is fairly unexpected absent methodological artifacts. While this may generally be the case, some political actions can and do face tremendous backlash, potentially impacting public evaluations. Leveraging broadcast and newspaper transcripts as well as a unique two-wave panel study we demonstrate that a non-random, rapid shift in opinions occurred shortly after President Donald Trump signed executive order 13769 into law, which barred individuals from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days. The ban set off a fury of protests across U.S. cities and airports, garnering tremendous media attention and discussion. Drawing insights from literature on priming, we claim that an influx of new information portraying the “Muslim Ban” at odds with inclusive elements of American identity prompted some citizens to shift their attitudes. Our study highlights the potential broad political effects of mass movements and protests as it pertains to policies that impact racialized minority groups, and suggests that preferences can shift quickly in response to changing political circumstances.

Keywords

Race and ethnic politics Religion and politics Public opinion Panel data Muslim Americans American identity Protests and demonstrations 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loren Collingwood
    • 1
  • Nazita Lajevardi
    • 2
  • Kassra A. R. Oskooii
    • 3
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaRiversideUSA
  2. 2.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.University of DelawareNewarkUSA

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