Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 12-1-2021

Faculty Advisor(s)

Ann Gordon


Following the 2016 election in which immigration became a leading political issue, fear of immigrants has fueled greater divides amongst the American citizenry. Building off group threat theory, I examine the extent that party affiliation, age, income, and geography impact one’s fear of immigrants. Utilizing the Chapman Survey of Fears from 2016, 2018, and 2021, an online nationwide survey conducted with a representative national sample of US adults, I expect to find an increase in fear of immigrants in all independent variables as time passes from 2016 to 2021, paralleling immigration’s rise to the national stage during the 2016 election. Specifically analyzing each variable, I expect to find older, lower-income Republicans in the Southwest to be particularly afraid of immigrants as this group of people may perceive they have the most to “lose” with the arrival of immigrants, fearing job, political party, or racial competition. The expected growth in fear of immigration speaks to the sharp divide between the idealistic American “melting pot” and the realistic xenophobic attitudes amongst Americans. Additionally, understanding American attitudes towards immigrants serves as an important tool for predicting voters’ support of candidates and policies and better understanding the growing divide amongst voters. By analyzing the relationship between demographic factors and immigration attitudes, this research highlights the polarization amongst voters which threatens American democracy as this divisiveness stalls legislative action and promotes violent antagonism.


Presented at the virtual Fall 2021 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.