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Political and Spiritual Migration: The Adaptive Formation of Religious and Partisan Attachments among Latino Immigrants in the United States

  • Christopher L. Weaver (a1)

Abstract

Immigrants to the United States often fail to develop partisan identities, which can be a political impediment. While the development of partisanship has received substantial attention in the existing literature, further research is needed to understand the origins of partisanship for new immigrants who lack the socialized psychological attachments that drive partisanship for many Americans. I theorize that preceding changes in salient social identities may facilitate the formation of partisan attachments as an adaptive response to a new environment. Specifically, I contend that religious conversion, an adaptive change in one's religious identity, increases the probability of political adaptation among Latino immigrants, the largest immigrant group in the United States. Using data from a 2006 Pew survey of Latino religious life, I show that conversion among Latino immigrants is associated with a greater partisan identification, which suggests religious conversion may function as an intervening adaptation in the evolution of partisanship.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Christopher L. Weaver, Department of Political Science, 217 O'Shaughnessy Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556. E-mail: cweaver4@nd.edu

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