Do Latinos Party All the Time? The Role of Shared Ethnic Group Identity on Political Choice

by DeFrancesco Soto, Victoria Maria

Abstract (Summary)
The overarching question of this dissertation is do Latinos prefer co-ethnic

candidates and if so, to what degree? I examine how Latinos evaluate co-ethnic

candidates—both those who share one’s partisanship and who do not. In addressing the

former, is the evaluation higher of a candidate who not only shares one’s partisanship but

also ethnicity or is the double in-group status redundant?

I then address a more complex question, how do Latinos evaluate Latino

candidates who do not share their partisan identity. The dilemma of having contradictory

social group identities places a voter at an electoral fork in the road. To understand

which road the voter ultimately takes I consider individual ethnic social group

identification and the substantive meanings of ethnic group categories. I look at how

different dimensions of Latino group identity influence the ultimate evaluation of a coethnic

candidate. More specifically, I consider how and when a Latino social group

identity influences political choice.

I begin addressing the questions of when and how a Latino ethnic group identity

can influence a political choice through an analysis of extant survey data. I also make

use of original survey experiments that allow me to determine if there is a causal

relationship and to probe the dimensions of Latino group identity.

The results indicate that there is an in-group candidate preference. In some

instances, an ethnic in-group match by itself predicts political choice, but not for all

Latinos and not all the time. More substantive measures of Latino group identity serve to

differentiate who among Latinos are most likely to prefer an ethnic in-group candidate. I

find that substantive measures moderate a preference and in some instances a distancing

from the Latino candidate. In general, Latinos with higher levels of Latino group

identification are those most likely to support a Latino candidate. However, the

preference for a Latino candidate depends on whom that Latino candidate is—Republican

or Democrat. In short, Latino preferences for co-ethnic candidates are variegated, but

significantly and substantively influenced by the individual’s level of ethnic identification

and the type of Latino candidate choice at hand.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Aldrich, John H.; McClain, Paula D.; Haynie, Kerry L.; Wood, Wendy

School:Duke University

School Location:USA - North Carolina

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:latinos political psychology social group identity electoral choice


Date of Publication:05/04/2007

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