Mass Politics

Current Projects

The Politics of Immigration
CCPS Faculty Fellow Matt Wright’s current project asks what Americans want from their immigration policy and why. Most current scholarship traces Americans’ attitudes about immigration to the primordial impulse to favor ingroups and derogate outgroups. Ethnic identities, prejudice, xenophobia, and nationalism play leading roles in these “group-centrist” accounts. Drawing on a large body of survey evidence that spans multiple immigration policy controversies and uses an array of experimental and observational research designs, Wright argues instead that core values deeply rooted in the country’s political culture are the dominant influence on most Americans’ immigration policy opinions most of the time."

One Nation, Two Realities: Dueling Facts and American Democracy. 2019. Oxford University Press
CCPS Director David Barker (with Morgan Marietta of UMASS-Lowell) examines the causes and consequences of dueling fact perceptions in the US, and what (if anything) can be done about it. Barker argues that factual polarization is more of a “bottom-up” process than researchers have appreciated, and that it is not going away.

Premises: The Underappreciated Elements of Liberalism-Conservatism
Political scientists have highlighted the role of abstract normative beliefs—or values—as undercurrents of liberal-conservative attitudes and identity, but they have neglected to distinguish the role of abstract factual beliefs, or premises. In this project, CCPS Director David Barker (with Morgan Marietta of UMASS-Lowell) seeks to fill that gap, focusing on premises pertaining to human nature and society.

The Right to Petition: Ideology, Social Dominance Orientation, and Support for Political Protest
CCPS Director David Barker (with Kim Nalder and Jessica Newham of California State University-Sacramento) seeks to understand the variance in support for political protest, to shed light on why some social movements succeed and others fail. Barker reexamines the role of political ideology, using both liberal and conservative protest causes as case studies, concluding that social dominance orientation is the strongest causal mechanism underlying conservative distaste for political protest—even protests that further their own goals.

The Evolving Role of Religion in US Politics
In this project, for which we are currently seeking funding, CCPS Director David Barker (with Robert Jones and Dan Cox of Public Religion Research Institute) examines the ways that the relationship between religion and conservative politics may be evolving. Among other things, it explores the extent to which there is an emergent white Christian Left, as well as whether white nationalists compete with or complement evangelicals in the new Republican coalition.

Grant Highlight

The National Science Foundation awarded us $40,000 to organize our conference and accompanying edited volume on The Politics of Truth.