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Racial Attitudes and Health Care Policy Opinion: An Anglx–Latinx Contrast

  • Daniel Lanford (a1), Ray Block (a2) and Daniel Tope (a3)


Recent studies confirm that Anglxs’ racial attitudes can shape their opinions about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), particularly when this federal health care policy is linked to Barack Obama. Strong linkages made between Obama and the ACA cue Anglxs to apply their racialized feelings toward Obama to their health policy preferences. This is consistent with a growing body of research demonstrating that “racial priming” can have a powerful impact on Anglxs’ political opinions. Yet few studies have explored racialized policy opinion among minorities, and fewer still have explored racial priming among Latinxs. In this paper, we compare the effect of racial priming on the health policy preferences of Latinxs and Anglxs. Using survey evidence from the 2012 American National Election Study, we find important Anglx–Latinx differences in racialized policy preferences. However, we also find that racial priming has an effect on U.S.-born Latinxs that closely resembles its effect on Anglxs. Results suggest that increasing ethnic diversity in the United States will not necessarily produce increasingly liberal politics as many believe. American politics in the coming decades will depend largely on the ways in which Latinxs’ racial sympathies and resentments are mobilized.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Daniel Lanford, Georgia State University|Emory University, Atlanta, GA. E-mail:


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