Do Latinos Party All the Time? The Role of Shared Ethnic Group Identity on Political Choice
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.
Advisor:Aldrich, John H.; McClain, Paula D.; Haynie, Kerry L.; Wood, Wendy
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