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Thousands of Latin Americans migrate to the United States every year. This article seeks to understand how immigrants’ premigration political experiences influence the acquisition of party identification upon arrival in the United States. This research proposes that premigration political experiences influence the acquisition of party identification among Latino immigrants in the United States. Utilizing data from the 2016 Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS) and Proyecto Élites Parlamentarias Latinoamericanas (Latin American Parliamentary Elites Project), this paper analyzes how the ideology of the government in power in the immigrants’ country of origin influences party identification among Latino immigrants in the United States. Employing multinomial regression analysis, I demonstrate that the ideology of governments in power in Latin American countries when Latinos migrate influences the party identification of those immigrants in the United States. The results of this study contribute to the conversations on premigration experiences and challenge the applicability of classical theories of party identification for immigrants.
How do legislators respond to coethnic and cominority constituents? We conduct an audit study of all state legislators to explore white legislators’ responsiveness to different minority groups and minority group legislators’ responsiveness to each other. Black and Latino Americans currently make up about one-third of the overall U.S. population and an even larger share of some state populations. In light of this growing diversification of the American electorate, legislators may have incentives to appeal to a broad racial constituency. In our experiment, state legislators are randomly assigned to receive an email from a white, Black, or Latino constituent. Our findings suggest a lack of legislators’ discrimination, on average, against Black relative to white constituents. Instead, we find that all legislators, on average, respond more to both white and Black constituents relative to Latinos. The evidence suggests that Black legislators do not exhibit coethnic solidarity toward their Black constituents or cominority solidarity toward their Latino constituents; however, Latinos do exhibit coethnic and cominority solidarity (though there are too few Latino legislators to definitively establish this claim). We also estimate effects among white legislators by party and racial composition of districts in order to provide suggestive evidence for white legislators’ intrinsic vs. strategic motivations.
This chapter is about Lyndon Johnson’s relationship with Mexican Americans and his work in the arena of US–Latin American relations. Johnson always credited his teaching experience at the “Mexican school” in Cotulla, Texas with his lifelong sympathy toward Mexican Americans, and as the influence that made him want to help them when he was president. But Johnson’s presidency also coincided with a period of great flux for Latinos in the United States and US–Latin American relations more broadly. The number of Latinos in the United States was growing, in part because of the Immigration and Nationality Act that Johnson signed into law in 1965, and in part because the United States needed Cold War allies, so Johnson maintained the “Good Neighbor” policies of his predecessors in order to secure support from Mexico and other Latin American nations. Throughout the civil rights era and the middle period of the Cold War, when Johnson was in office, Latinos were key deciders of their own fate, waging campaigns for greater rights and inclusion in the social, political, and economic life of the United States.
Macropartisanship is a measure of aggregate trends in party identification in the mass public that allows researchers to track partisanship dynamically. In previous research, macropartisanship was found to vary in concert with major political events and forces like presidential approval and the economy. However, studying macropartisanship as an aggregate trend assumes that group dynamics within the measure are equivalent. We present a series of new measures of macropartisanship using Stimson’s (2018) dyad ratio approach disaggregated by race and ethnicity. We detail the creation of measures for White, Latino, and Black macropartisanship from 1983 to 2016 using more than 500 surveys from CBS News and CBS/New York Times. The resulting data collection is publicly available and can be downloaded in monthly, quarterly, or yearly format. Our initial analysis of these data show that thinking about macropartisanship as a single aggregate measure masks important and significant variation in our understanding of party identification. Change in the measures are uncorrelated. Latino macropartisanship is more volatile and responds more to economic conditions, Black macropartisanship is very stable and has become more Democratic in response to increased polarization, while White macropartisanship has become less responsive to economic conditions as has become more Republican as Republicans have moved to the right.
Chapter 6 examines the effect of group empathy on public reactions to undocumented immigration. Results from a national survey experiment demonstrate that group empathy is significantly linked to attitudes about undocumented immigrants, even after controlling for other predispositions including partisanship, ideology, social dominance orientation (SDO), immigration threat, and more. While the significant effects of group empathy apply to all racial/ethnic groups, we find that minorities display higher levels of group empathy than whites do, which in turn lead to more favorable views of undocumented immigrants. Our experimental findings further reveal substantial intergroup differences in reactions to white versus non-white immigrants. African Americans and Latinos were far more likely to side with immigrant detainees in distress of all races/ethnicities and were also more supportive of pro-civil rights policies and actions compared to whites. African Americans were far more likely to take the side of an immigrant if he/she was nonwhite. Latinos, likely because they view the issue as more relevant to their group, were strongly opposed to punitive actions and policies regardless of the race/ethnicity of the immigrant. Finally, we confirm that differences in group-based empathic reactions help explain these racial/ethnic gaps in political attitudes and behavior concerning undocumented immigration.
Most research studying minority representation concludes that minorities enjoy better representation when they constitute a larger share of a constituency, but only through the partisanship and race/ethnicity of the representative. Other research finds that minorities receive worse representation when they constitute a larger share of a constituency. We argue that minority composition will have an independent effect on representation, but that this effect will differ depending on the representative's partisanship. We apply our theory to Latino composition and state legislative voting on immigration policy and find that Latino composition has no effect on voting among Democratic legislators, who are less likely to vote in a restrictive direction on immigration than Republicans regardless of the Latino composition in their district. However, Republicans are more likely to vote to restrict immigration as Latinos comprise a larger share of their district. Our findings suggest that scholars should consider the moderating effect of legislator partisanship when examining minority composition and representation.
This study explores Latino perceptions of commonality and competition with African Americans across the country, focusing on the South. Using the Latino National Survey (LNS), we test the existing inter-group relation theories using an original measurement approach. With the creation of relative measures of commonality and competition of Latinos toward Blacks, we find that Latinos perceive co-ethnics as a greater source of competition than Blacks when our relative measure is used to interpret Latino perceptions of competition with African Americans. Moreover, our results suggest that Latinos in the South have similar perceptions of commonality to Blacks as Latinos more generally, across both approaches that measure perceptions of commonality. Most importantly, we find that when the relative competition measure is employed, Latinos who live in Southern states do in fact have higher perceptions of competition with Blacks than Latinos at large. These trends provide a valuable addition to the extant literature focused on inter-group relations by emphasizing that not only place and context matter, but also the way perceptions of competition and commonality are measured and operationalized.
While popular narratives regarding the destiny of demographics assume Latino interstate migrants will alter destination state politics as Latinos disperse across the states, no studies directly assess the empirical validity of the underlying assumption of migrant's political preferences. Moreover, established theories of domestic migrant preferences suggest a variety of potential individual-level behaviors that often diverge from the underlying assumption of a uniform introduction of more liberal voters. Employing data from the 2016 Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey, this study presents an analysis on Latino interstate migrant voting behavior, while also overcoming a variety of data limitations in existing studies. Countering some previous findings that homophily, adaptation, or even a static liberal orientation describes migrant voting behavior, the results suggest that Latino interstate migrant preferences vary by the political context of their previous state of residence. The results imply that the destiny of demographics will be conditioned, to some extent, by the migratory patterns of Latinos and the dyad of departure and destination states. When Latinos leave liberal (conservative) states, they bring more liberal (conservative) policies. In short, Latinos seem to pack their politics when moving across state lines.
The public opinion literature stresses the importance of source cues in determining which types of messages affect attitudes and which types do not. Building upon such research, we seek to determine if messenger ethnicity influences how individuals evaluate candidates speaking on immigration in the context of a campaign. Do Americans (and Anglo Americans in particular) view Latino candidates as more experienced, stronger leaders, more trustworthy, and more qualified on immigration than Anglo candidates? Moreover, do such relationships hold regardless of the valence of the message itself? Through an original survey experiment presenting subjects with immigration talk on the campaign trail, we find Latino candidates are reviewed more positively than Anglo candidates when it comes to the immigration messages they speak (especially when it comes to pro-immigration messages). Such findings give us insight into whether or not Latino candidates have the potential to “own” the issue of immigration, as well as offering another path by which Latino candidates can gain a strong foothold with the public in the context of a campaign.
The question of how partisanship is influenced by exogenous factors has been vigorously debated, yet this debate is less frequently noted in the literature on Latino partisanship. This study analyzes the 2006 Latino National Survey with geographic identifiers to explore how the political context of a county influences Latino partisan self-identification. There are a variety of reasons why the political environment might influence Latinos’ partisan choice. First, a substantial proportion of the adult Latino population in the United States is foreign-born, potentially lessening the influence of parental partisan socialization. Second, increased migration to areas outside the Southwest has exposed Latinos to new and different social, political, and economic environments. Using subgroup analysis, interactive logit models, and regression discontinuity, we find that the local political context influences the party attachment of Latino immigrants in predictable ways. However, for Latinos born in the United States, our analysis does not provide evidence of a causal connection between partisan environment and an individual's partisan identification.
Laboratory studies frequently find that framing changes individual issue positions. But few real-world studies have demonstrated framing induced shifts in aggregate political opinions, let alone political identities. One explanation for these divergent findings is that the competitive nature of most real-world political debates presents multiple frames that cancel each other out. We assess this proposition and the extent of real-world framing by focusing on the issue of immigration, which has been framed in largely negative terms by the media. Specifically, we assess the connection between New York Times coverage of immigration and aggregate white partisanship over the last three decades. We find that negative framing on immigration is associated with shifts toward the Republican Party—the Party linked with anti-immigrant positions. This suggests that under the right circumstances, framing can alter core political predispositions and shape the partisan balance of power.
The following study investigates the causal impact of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) language minority provisions, which mandate multilingual election assistance if certain population thresholds are met. While lower rates of Latino and Asian American political participation are often attributed to language barriers, scholars have yet to establish a direct impact of the provisions on electoral behavior. Building off of previous state- and county-level analyses, we leverage an individual-level voter file database to focus on participation by Latino and Asian American citizens in 1,465 counties and municipalities nationwide. Utilizing a regression discontinuity design, we examine rates of voter registration and turnout in the 2012 election, comparing individual participation rates in jurisdictions just above and just below the threshold for coverage. Our analysis attributes a significant increase in Latino voter registration and Asian American turnout to coverage under the VRA.
Do voters in white districts systematically obstruct minority representation? Despite a great deal of public and scholarly attention, this question remains largely unresolved. We demonstrate that the narrow focus on the relationship between white voters and minority representation is inadequate to understand why we do not see more minority-elected officials in the United States. We use a matching technique to investigate three theoretical perspectives of descriptive representation using a unique dataset from the 2012 general elections for state legislative seats in 14 states, the first elections after the 2010 redistricting process. Our findings challenge the venerable notion that minority candidates consistently underperform in white districts, and complicate our understanding of the political expression of bigotry in the voting booth.
The creation of racial/ethnic majority-minority districts lies at the heart of debates regarding the utility of descriptive representation for minority policy advocacy. The general puzzle that emerges from these debates, however, rests on the possibility that by electing representatives who are policy outsiders, minority interests would exert little influence in the policy decisions of median-dominated institutions. The authors present a model that shows how majority-minority districts can act to (1) increase the likelihood of electing minority representatives who are unique policy advocates and (2) concurrently increase the level of institutional status of descriptive representatives. The empirical analysis employs a novel data set of observations on political, sociodemographic, roll-call and institutional position, covering twenty U.S. states in the late 1990s and over 2,600 state legislative seats to show how majority-minority districts produce policy outsiders as well as institutional insiders.
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