A 2003 survey on a US nationally representative sample found that 71.3% of respondents agreed that

“It’s OK for immigrants to be loyal to both their home country and the U.S.” [statement that] was used to gauge Americans’ attitudes toward immigrants’ dual loyalty.

while the rest of 28.7% disagreed. Approximately 25% of the sample were non-respondents though, but that's not reflected in the aforementioned percentages, which only reflect those who answered the question.

As for demographic correlates of this attitude

three of the four variables in the social location cluster (gender, education, and income) were not significant in structuring nonimmigrant Americans’ attitudes toward immigrants’ dual loyalty; age was the only factor that had an effect. [...] older respondents were more likely to disagree with the statement. [...] those who resided in the Northwest and Midwest were less likely to disagree with the statement “It’s OK for immigrants to be loyal to both their home country and the U.S.” than were residents of the South and West. [...] political party affiliation was the single most important variable in structuring attitudes toward immigrants’ dual loyalty within the cultural and political boundary dimension. Those who identified as Republican were 1.63 times (60.3 percent) more likely to disagree with the idea of immigrants’ maintaining dual loyalty than were those who self-identified as Democrats or independents.

The correlation with age suggests that the US public attitude to the "dual loyalty" issue might have significantly changed over time. Are there any longitudinal surveys (i.e. same question asked at multiple points in time) on this matter?

  • 1
    Did they define "loyalty"? It seems like a pretty broad concept.
    – phoog
    Oct 31, 2019 at 14:04
  • @phoog: it would be interesting if there was a survey with more fine-grained questions than that single one, exploring the issue, but this is all I found, and was only asked once some 16 years ago... Hence the question. I don't mind if you reply with something more detailed than a single-question survey. Oct 31, 2019 at 18:59
  • 4
    I don't really want to answer this question, but I might start with the wiki article en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_loyalty which also notes two things: (1) "suggest that as societies become more heterogeneous and multi-cultural, the term "dual loyalty" increasingly becomes a meaningless bromide." and (2) the dual loyalty concept has a long history of antisemitism (especially pre-1948-Israel) and racism (concentration and internment camps)
    – BurnsBA
    Oct 31, 2019 at 20:34
  • 5
    @BurnsBA: they said the same thing about JFK and the Pope.
    – dandavis
    Oct 31, 2019 at 20:38
  • @dandavis, yes Catholics are another good example, I forgot about JFK
    – BurnsBA
    Oct 31, 2019 at 20:40

1 Answer 1


Focusing on the word "loyalty" reminds me of other paranoid periods in American history. One influential essay that describes this style of politics is titled "The Paranoid Style in American Politics".

During the both "Red Scares", people who were seen as pro-Communist were accused of "taking orders from Moscow". This was similar to the 19th Century's anti-Catholicism movements where Catholics were accused of "taking orders from Rome".

During World War 1, speaking German was seen as traitorous enough that teaching German in schools was outlawed and people speaking German were harassed. And shamefully, during World War 2, people of Japanese descent were rounded up and thrown into internment camps.

There will be very few longitudinal studies because this subject ends up being extremely emotional, shameful and embarrassing when the hysteria of the moral panics fade.

  • Re "taking orders from Moscow", is there not plenty of evidence that the US Communist party did just that? And do not many Catholics take "orders" from the Pope WRT things like birth control?
    – jamesqf
    Nov 4, 2019 at 17:38

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