The study found that race and ethnicity are strong influences on the likelihood of respondents to stereotype positively or negatively their own group and other groups (Burns and Gimpal, 2000). The conclusion of the study was that negative stereotypes of blacks and Hispanics were highly associated with a desire for decreased immigration in 1992. (Burns and Gimpal, 2000).

The same study was conducted in 1996 after a significant change in the political issues surrounding immigration, especially of Hispanics (Burns and Gimpal, 2000). In 1996 the study found that respondents who had a pessimistic personal economic outlook viewed Hispanics more harshly, but personal economic circumstances were not highly related to views of blacks and whites (Burns and Gimpal, 2000). The personal economic outlook of respondents had some linkage to negative views of blacks and whites in the 1992 study, but there was little relationship to attitudes toward Hispanics (Burns and Gimpal, 2000).

The development of people's political views on immigration of particular nationalities changes with the perception of that group's economic pressure on the native society. The roots of the stereotypes, attitudes and feelings toward immigrants are grounded in deep psychological processes (Peterson et al., 2010). The development of political opinions toward immigration requires the incorporation of people's perceptions about the economy, stereotypes, the nationalities of the groups affected by the immigration policies and people's emotions related to the perceptions of other groups behaviors. The attitudes toward immigrants tend to shift from group to group depending on the perceived threat of emerging immigrant populations.

D. Strong Political Views Bias Information Processing

When people remember political leaders, groups, issues, symbols, and ideas they assign positive or negative associations to those memories over time (Lodge and Tabor, 2005). This evaluative tally comes automatically to mind upon presentation of the associated object, thereby signaling its positive or negative perception (Lodge and Tabor, 2005). Lodge and Tabor's theory of motivated reasoning combines affect and cognition in long-term memory and brings them automatically to mind in the judgment process with the result that feelings become information (2005). The positive or negative feelings people have about certain political views are part of the judgment process from start to finish (Lodge and Tabor, 2005). The positive or negative feelings about political opinions are involved in all thinking and reasoning and, therefore; most people will be biased in their reasoning. This bias makes it difficult for people to evaluate new, attitude-relevant information in a balanced way (Lodge and Tabor, 2005). This creates an automatic response to information processing.

E. Conclusion

The formation of political views includes non-political influences such as perceptions about racial groups, emotions about those perceptions and whether those emotions are positive or negative. Political attitudes are a culmination of influences from different sources including media, national symbols, political affiliations and perceptions about national and personal economic conditions. A person who holds a particular political affiliation, such as a Republican, should be expected to believe in less immigration, while a Democrat should be inclined to allow for more immigration based solely on political affiliations. In reality, people's political attitudes, particularly strong political beliefs, invoke positive and negative feelings about immigration regardless of political affiliation.


Burns, P. And Gimpel, J. (2000). "Economic Insecurity, Prejudicial Stereotypes, and Public Opinion on Immigration Policy." Political Science Quarterly, 115, 201-225.

Ferguson, M. And Hassin, R. (2007). On the Automatic Association Between American and Aggression for New Watchers."

Lodge, M. And Tabor, C. (2005). "The Automaticity of Affect for Political Leaders,

Groups, and Issues: An Experimental…