Degree Name

BA

Department

Political Science

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Defense Date

2019-03-08

Publication Date

2019-03-18

First Faculty Advisor

Quin Monson

First Faculty Reader

Jacob Rugh

Honors Coordinator

John Holbein

Keywords

Hispanic, Latino, Political Realignment, Identity, Vote Choice, Party

Abstract

Hispanics are a rising demographic and political force in the United States and their influence is projected to grow in the coming years. Because of this, an understanding of what influences Hispanic political attitudes and voting behavior is critical in developing election strategies. The Democratic Party has historically had the most success at forming a Hispanic coalition. However, party coalitions are not always fixed and have shifted as cross-cutting issues divide the public. Although existing literature has developed several party-oriented explanations for why realignment occurs, there has not been an in-depth study focusing on how demographic changes within a particular population can influence party realignment. I examine how Hispanic identity, cultural assimilation, religious affiliation, religiosity, and immigration policy affect Hispanic alignment with the Democratic party. Hispanic identity and liberal immigration policy preferences increase Democratic alignment, while cultural assimilation decreases it. Religious affiliation and religiosity have no statistically significant effect on Democratic alignment. Hispanic voter support for liberal immigration policy suppressed turnout for Trump, but did not translate to voter mobilization for Clinton.

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