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The Emotions Tied to Immigration: Do We See Eye to Eye on Hot Button Issues?

At the midterm elections and spanning far before, several matters surrounding immigration were hot-button issues, and it still remains that way. According to the AdSAM Emotional Response Model, Democrats and Republicans often do not see eye-to-eye, yet our dive into the emotional responses surrounding hot-button immigration issues provided us with some unexpected findings.

AdSAM’s emotional temperature index displays the issues that are connecting with voters the strongest. The higher the emotional temperature, the stronger the emotional response. On the thermometer, 100 represents an average emotional response, therefore the responses greater than 100 are above average and those less than 100 are below average. The result – an easy way to see which issues connect with Democrats and Republicans the strongest!

We asked Democrats and Republicans a number of questions regarding hot-button immigration issues, including:

  1. How do you feel about Donald Trump’s statements about immigration to the US?

  2. How do you feel about Donald Trump’s Immigration policy?

  3. How do you feel about the Islamic Groups and their potential impact on the United States?

  4. How do you feel about President Donald Trump’s foreign policies?

  5. How do you feel about the state of Immigration in the United States?

  6. How do you feel about Democratic Party’s Immigration policy?

The emotional results?

It holds true that Democrats are generally displeased and feel less in control than Republicans when it comes to the current state of immigration issues. This can be seen by their below average response to Trump’s immigration policy, foreign policies and statements about immigration to the US. Democratic levels of appeal skewed more negative than positive when it comes to hot button immigration issues.

Yet, Republicans see Donald Trump’s statements as provocative and their response evokes higher levels of positive appeal. The left finds Trump’s policy more appealing and engaging, but they also find it less empowering.

This indicates that Republicans are relinquishing control to Trump. While the Democrats feel more cynical, annoyed and contempt about Trump’s policy statements, Republicans are a bit less annoyed; their emotions are far more wholesome.

It is clear that fear runs ramped in the United States, but the source of this fear is polarizing amongst the two main parties; entirely different immigration issues alarm Democrats and Republicans. Republicans are afraid of policy and the idea of immigration as a whole, while the Democrats immigration fears all stem from Donald Trump.

But, what does all of this mean?

Our research shows that fear is a much stronger motivator toward behavior than fear, so the political party that can translate their feelings of fear to those of anger will be the most successful in creating a desired behavior. Regardless of the political party’s stance and desired outcome, hot-button immigration issues are fueled by a range of appealing, engaging and empowering emotions.

All of the temperature gauges seen in this article were developed and measured by and with AdSAM. AdSAM measures three key factors of emotion, appeal, engagement and empowerment, using a cross cultural, gender free visual measure of emotion.

In addition to the temperature gauges, AdSAM develops perceptual maps that show where each issue falls on average in an emotional space. Appeal and engagement fall upon the x- and y- axes, while empowerment is ranked by the size of the dot. The emotion adjectives on the perceptual map are derived from the AdSAM database and are shown in relationship to the responses on the map.

For more information about AdSAM’s deliverables and methodology, check out our website!


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