2024 Immigration Messaging

Created by
December 1, 2023
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Methodology: We tested multiple positive, contrast, and negative immigration messages with Blue Rose Research to see which was best at shifting Biden vote choice. These messages were tested in English only. The test ran from March 28 to April 5 in AZ, CO, FL, GA, MI, NV, NM, NC, OH, PA, TX, and WI. We collected a total of 17,098 survey responses, with over 60% of responses coming from Latinos. 

Recommendations: 

  • Tell voters about Trump's immigration plans for 2024 using his own policies and own words wherever possible. some text
    • Criticizing Republicans for playing politics with the border is also effective.
  • Where positive messaging is needed, focus on Biden’s “balanced approach.” Pair safety, order and security with fair, humane treatment and legal pathways. some text
    • Don’t just message on securing the border. 

Overall Findings:

  • Negative messages perform best, especially those that highlight Trump’s plans for 2024 and criticize Republicans for playing politics with the border. This suggests that information that clearly outlines Trump’s extreme hardline immigration policies and his overt racism towards immigrants are not already baked into voters’ decision for 2024. These messages also “stick to the facts,” using Trump’s own policies and own words wherever possible.some text
    • “... Trump’s plans to use the National Guard from Republican-controlled states to round up every last undocumented immigrant in the country in “large-scale raids” and put them in internment camps near the border.” 
    • Donald Trump “recently said that immigrants are “animals” and “not people,” and that they’re “poisoning the blood of our country…” He’s promised to use local police to carry out mass deportations of people who have been here for decades…”
    • “Republicans… voted against the bipartisan bill [because] Donald Trump told them he wanted to keep chaos at the border because it helps him politically…”
  • The most effective positive message among Latinos focused on a “balanced approach that will make our country safer, make our border more secure, and will treat people fairly and humanely while preserving legal immigration.”
  • The least effective positive message among Latinos focused on President Biden “fighting for the toughest set of reforms to secure the border we’ve ever had in our country.” This message was also the least effective overall for the full sample. 
  • Contrast messages seemed to perform slightly better than positive messages, but not as well as negative messages. 
  • The two best performing contrast messages combined elements from the best testing positive message and the best testing negative messages.some text
    • “... President Biden is fighting for policies that will make our country safer, make our border more secure, and will treat people fairly and humanely while preserving legal immigration, consistent with our values as a nation. Instead of prioritizing solutions, Republicans would rather see the chaos and cruelty at the border continue for their own political gain.”
    • “President Biden… supports policies like expanding access to legal immigration and pathways to citizenship for immigrants who were brought here as children. Instead, Republicans support policies that would deport millions of people who have been living and working here for decades.”
  • All the messages were effective across racial groups, but they were especially effective among Black and Latino voters, 18-34 year olds, moderates, and people who did not vote in 2020.

Effect on Biden Vote Choice by Message
Latinos Overall
Trump Plans Negative +2.9 pp +1.8 pp
Politics Negative +2.7 pp +1.7 pp
Extreme Negative +2.6 pp +1.7 pp
Poison Negative +2.5 pp +1.8 pp
Moral/Chaos Contrast +2.2 pp +1.5 pp
White House Talking Points Positive +2.1 pp +1.5 pp
Moral/Extreme Contrast +2.1 pp +1.4 pp
Border Contrast +2.1 pp +1.4 pp
Moral Contrast +2.0 pp +1.4 pp
Humane Positive +1.8 pp +1.3 pp
Priorities Positive +1.8 pp +1.2 pp
Border Positive +1.8 pp +1.2 pp
Border Hit Contrast +1.6 pp +1.2 pp

Full Messages:

Negative - Trump Plans: Trump has repeatedly promised that, if reelected, he will pursue “the largest domestic deportation operation in history,” deporting millions of immigrants who have been living and working here for decades. His top immigration advisor shared Trump’s plans to use the National Guard from Republican-controlled states to round up every last undocumented immigrant in the country in “large-scale raids” and put them in internment camps near the border. 

Negative - Politics: Republicans said the border is in crisis but then they voted against the bipartisan bill, written by their own members, that would fix the crisis. They voted against it for one reason: Donald Trump told them he wanted to keep chaos at the border because it helps him politically. Republicans don’t care about fixing the border. They only care about using the border as a political issue to demonize hard working immigrants. 

Negative - Extreme: Donald Trump’s immigration plan for 2025 is even more extreme than his policies that separated families in his last administration. He is proposing mass deportations of people who have been here for decades, getting rid of asylum for people fleeing from oppressive regimes, and stripping birthright citizenship. Most Americans want to see a solution to the situation at the US-Mexico border that is tough but fair and reflects our values as a nation, not the extreme policies proposed by Donald Trump. 

Negative - Poison: The way Donald Trump talks about immigrants puts the safety of all Latinos in this country at risk. Hate crimes against Latinos are at record-breaking highs. But this isn’t new. Just like when he launched his campaign in 2015 by calling Mexican immigrants “rapists,” he recently said that immigrants are “animals” and “not people,” and that they’re “poisoning the blood of our country.” And just like his racist policies of family separation and the border wall in 2016, he’s promised to use local police to carry out mass deportations of people who have been here for decades if he’s elected in 2024. 

Contrast - Moral/Chaos: We all know the immigration system in this country needs to be fixed. That’s why President Biden is fighting for policies that will make our country safer, make our border more secure, and will treat people fairly and humanely while preserving legal immigration, consistent with our values as a nation. Instead of prioritizing solutions, Republicans would rather see the chaos and cruelty at the border continue for their own political gain.

Positive - WH TPs: President Biden is fighting to secure the border and fix our broken immigration system with a balanced approach that will make our country safer, make our border more orderly and secure, and treat people fairly and humanely while preserving legal immigration, consistent with our values as a nation. 

Contrast - Moral/Extreme: We all know the immigration system in this country needs to be fixed. That’s why President Biden is fighting for a balanced approach that will make our border more secure while treating people fairly and humanely and expanding pathways to citizenship for immigrants who came here as children. Instead, Donald Trump supports policies that would deport millions of people who have been living and working here for decades. He’s promised to use the National Guard to round up every last undocumented immigrant in the country in “large-scale raids” and put them in internment camps near the border. 

Contrast - Border: We all know the immigration system in this country needs to be fixed. That’s why President Biden is fighting for the toughest set of reforms to secure the border we’ve ever had in our country, including an emergency authority that would allow the President to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed and funding for more border patrol agents, immigration judges, and asylum officers. When it came time to vote on the proposed reforms, Republicans voted against it. Instead of prioritizing solutions, Republicans would rather see the chaos and cruelty at the border continue for their own political gain. 

Contrast - Moral: President Biden knows that immigrants make this country great. That’s why he supports policies like expanding access to legal immigration and pathways to citizenship for immigrants who were brought here as children. Instead, Republicans support policies that would deport millions of people who have been living and working here for decades.

Positive - Humane: President Biden is focused on fixing our immigration system in line with America's values. He’s fighting to create a more humane and efficient asylum application process for refugees, for more resources to support judges working in the immigration system, and for expanded access to legal counsel for unaccompanied children who are forced to navigate complex immigration court proceedings on their own. 

Positive - Priorities: President Biden is focused on fixing problems that impact people like us the most. His administration has lowered healthcare premiums for millions of Americans, capped the cost of insulin for seniors on Medicare, and added 2.7 million jobs in the last year. And he’s continuing to fight for solutions to problems like housing prices, student loan debt, and securing the US-Mexico border. 

Positive - Border: We all know the immigration system in this country needs to be fixed. That’s why President Biden is fighting for the toughest set of reforms to secure the border we’ve ever had in our country, including a new emergency authority that would allow the President to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed and funding for more border patrol agents, immigration judges, asylum officers, and cutting-edge inspection machines to help detect and stop fentanyl at our southwest border. 

Contrast - Border hit: President Biden is focused on fixing problems that impact people like us the most. His administration has lowered healthcare premiums for millions of Americans, capped the cost of insulin for seniors on Medicare, and added 2.7 million jobs in the last year. And he’s continuing to fight for solutions to problems like housing prices, student loan debt, and securing the US-Mexico border. Meanwhile, Republicans are focused on the priorities of millionaires and wealthy campaign donors, and even blocked a bill that would address the situation at the US-Mexico border for their own political gain.

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