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As the size of the foreign-born population in the United States has climbed, political scientists have focused increasing attention on immigrant incorporation into American politics. Much previous work emphasizes the impediments to partisan incorporation for the foreign-born. Drawing from two-wave panel surveys of Mexican immigrants administered during the national elections of 2006 and 2008, we show that levels of partisanship for this population rise markedly in campaign environments. These shifts are largely in a Democratic direction. An experiment embedded in the 2008 survey demonstrates that immigrants are highly sensitive to political appeals extended by the Democratic side and modest amounts of exposure to political advertisements can have sizable long-term effects on party identification. These findings suggest that while the foreign-born may never possess the kinds of stable partisan orientations that are characteristic of native-born Americans, they are no strangers to party politics.




Southern Political Science Association

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The Journal of Politics