Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2010

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Political Science

First Advisor

Rene R. Rocha

Second Advisor

Caroline J. Tolbert

First Committee Member

David P. Redlawsk

Second Committee Member

Tracy Osborn

Third Committee Member

Mary E. Campbell


This dissertation seeks to further understand the relationship between nativism, the opinion that the American way of life needs to be protected against foreign influence, and the immigration policy preferences of the American public. It is argued that nativism is theoretically distinct from immigration policy preferences and should be operationalized and modeled accordingly. Disentangling nativism from its related policy preferences is essential for better understanding the role of nativism in driving immigration policy attitudes in comparison to other important factors such as economic threat, racism, and ideological conservatism. A variety of methods are employed in this analysis, including cross-sectional survey data analyses, an implicit association test, and a nation-wide survey list experiment. Using these methods, this project examines the determinants of nativism (including psychological factors), the nature of the relationship between nativism and immigration policy preferences, and how nativism might distinctly affect immigration policy preferences among Latinos and African-Americans. The conclusion discusses the implication of these results for the current public debate regarding the degree and effect of foreign influence on American society.


immigration, nativism, policy attitudes, race


1, xiii, 264 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 246-264).


Copyright 2010 Benjamin Richard Knoll