Tough immigration laws recently signed into law in Arizona have sparked a contentious debate within the nation's capital, where the issue had previously been firmly on the backburner.
In the newest venue for political discourse, however, the conversation has been fairly one-sided. A group that comprehensively tracks online opinion forums has reviewed more than 21,000 Twitter responses to the new law. Of this vast pool, the firm Crimson Hexagon concluded, 66 percent of tweets were opposed to what Arizona did with only 28 percent supportive.
Broken down further, the firm found that 21 percent percent of tweets claimed the law to be inherently racist, while eight percent of users suggested that they support Rep. Raul Grijalva's (D-Ariz.) call to boycott the state of Arizona.
Seven percent of tweets suggested "those on the Left who are against the law support illegal immigration and therefore support increased crime in the United States."
Five percent of tweets expressed "support for the tougher immigration law either because it is common sense to enforce 'the federal law already in place.'
Fiver percent of tweets, likewise, were agnostic with respect to the law itself but wondered if it was constitutional.
The study provides an interesting window into the political leanings of, what surely is, one of the fastest growing forums for political engagement. And while the results seems to reflect a larger, prevailing sentiment against Arizona's new law (which would give police incredible leeway to crack down on suspected illegal immigrants) it also provides a telling illustration of the Twitter community itself.
The Internet remains, on this point, a predominantly progressive domain and not a place where users tend to be persuaded by the opposing viewpoint -- at least not when the arguments are distilled into 140 characters or less.
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