Bridging the partisan divide on immigration policy attitudes through a bipartisan issue area: The case of human trafficking

Tabitha Bonilla, Cecilia Hyunjung Mo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To date, while there is a rich literature describing the determinants of anti-immigrant sentiment, researchers have not identified a mechanism to reduce antipathy toward immigrants. In fact, extant research has shown that efforts to induce positive attitudes toward immigrants often backfire. What if a bridging frame strategy were employed? Can a bipartisan issue area in which there is general support act as a bridging frame to elicit more positive sentiment toward immigration among those who oppose more open immigration policies? We explore this question by conducting two survey experiments in which we manipulate whether immigration is linked with the bipartisan issue area of human trafficking. We find that in forcing individuals to reconcile the fact that a widely accepted issue position of combating trafficking also requires a reassessment of immigration policies, we can positively shift attitudes on immigration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-120
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Political Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018



  • bridging frames
  • framing
  • human trafficking
  • immigration
  • survey experiments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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