23 December 2005

To Know Me Is To Love Me.

The headline doesn't apply to me personally, although I am a reasonably nice guy. It applies to immigration.

As Western Democrat has shown, anti-immigration sentiment is strongest where immigrants are most scarce (and any negative effects of immigration are likewise minimal), while pro-immigration sentiment is strongest where immigrants are common. A Survey USA poll (supplemented by Western Democrat to show the percentage of the population who are immigrants in selected states) shows pro-immigration sentiment outweighing anti-immigration sentiment in the following states (% of the population who are immigrants):

Alaska, Arizona (15%), California (28%), Colorado (10%), Connecticut, Delaware, Florida (18%), Georgia (9%), Hawaii, Idaho (6%), Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachussetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada (17%), New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico (9%), New York, Oregon (9%), Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas (15%), Utah (6%), Vermont, Virginia (10%), Washington and Wyoming (2%).

Anti-immigration sentiment exceeds pro-immigration sentiments in:

Alabama (2%), Arkansas (2%), Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky (3%), Louisiana (3%), Michigan, Mississippi (3%), Missouri, Montana (1%), North Carolina (7%), North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina (3%), Tennessee (5%), West Virginia and Wisconsin.

In short, anti-immigration sentiment is driven, not by problems people are actually experiencing, but by problems that people fear experiencing. This reminds me of another set of statistics. One of the biggest factors involved in attitudes towards gay rights is whether you know someone who is gay or lesbian. Those who do are far more likely to have a positive attitude about gay rights.

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