The media backlash to the ban may have convinced voters such bans are “un-American.”

When President Donald Trump announced his “Muslim ban” barring visitors and would-be refugees alike from six majority-Muslim countries early last year, critics worried it might prompt an additional wave of Islamophobia across the United States, intensifying the anti-Islamic sentiments that had been a cornerstone of Trump’s campaign.

Vox’s Zack Beauchamp called it a ploy to “turn … Islamophobia into the official guiding light of American immigration policy,” legitimizing and codifying the xenophobia and racism Trump had harnessed to win the presidency. And in many respects, Trump’s strategy has been effective. The ban — and the Trump presidency overall — has heralded a new wave of Islamophobic incidents in America. According to the Council on American Islamic Relations, 2017 was potentially one of the worst years in America for Muslims, with anti-Islamic violence and hate speech exceeding the year immediately following the 9/11 attacks.

But a study published this week in the journal Political Behavior suggests that Trump’s Muslim ban may have had an unexpected upside, according to political scientists Loren Collingwood, Nazita Lajevardi, and Kassra A.R. Oskooii of the University of California Riverside, Michigan State University, and the University of Delaware, respectively.

The authors found that the national discourse about the Muslim ban — and a general sense from liberal and mainstream media that the policy was at odds with “American values” — prompted some respondents to shift their attitudes, ultimately causing many Americans who had previously supported or been neutral on the issue of Trump’s Muslim ban to come down against it.

The team surveyed 423 people in early 2017, right before and then about a week after Trump signed the executive order. The study’s authors concluded that the Read More Here