Perceptions of immigration tend to be inaccurate and characterized by both a propensity to overestimate and a strong negativity bias. At the same time, the study of these misperceptions is often hampered by a lack of conceptual consistency and robust measures. This presentation reports preliminary results from a large-N survey in Switzerland, introduces a novel item battery to capture different elements of immigration-specific misperceptions, and applies a certainty measure to better distinguish between actual misperceptions (i.e., beliefs that contradict the best available evidence) and simple uninformedness (i.e., responses that contradict this evidence but are not based on beliefs). While most respondents do not estimate poorly, they express a fairly high degree of uncertainty—a fact that could have implications for research on misperceptions far beyond the Swiss case.
Marco Bitschnau studied sociology, political science, and economics in Friedrichshafen (B.A.), Cambridge (MPhil), and Neuchâtel (PhD, summa cum laude), and was a visiting researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. Since May 2023, he has been working as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Konstanz, where he is affiliated with both the Department of Sociology and the Cluster of Excellence The Politics of Inequality.