“Family Values Don’t Stop at the Rio Grande . . .”: Can the Republican Party Convert Hispanic Voters?

  • Donald Davison Rollins College
Keywords: Hispanic, Republican Party, moral values, referenda

Abstract

As the Hispanic community becomes increasingly important in American politics there are competing views about whether they can be converted to the Republican Party. One perspective argues that Hispanics’ religion and traditional social values makes them natural constituents of the Republican Party. Alternatively, Hispanics are primarily concerned about issues promoting their well-being and topics such as moral values or religion are private. We use a novel approach to test whether traditional social values might attract Hispanic voters to the Republican Party.  Using exit poll results for ballot propositions on moral issues from Arizona, Colorado, and Florida we find weak evidence that traditional values will convert Hispanics to the Republican Party. Instead, our results indicate that traditional social values issues reinforce the polarization between the two parties.

Author Biography

Donald Davison, Rollins College

Professor of Political Science

Co-Director, Program in Public Policy and Political Economy

References

Abrajano, Marisa, R. Michael Alvarez, and Jonathan Nagler 2008. “The Hispanic Vote in the 2004 Presidential Election: Insecurity and Moral Values,” The Journal of Politics, Vol. 70, No. 2, April. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022381608080365

Abrajano, Marisa and R. Michael Alvarez 2011. “Hispanic Public Opinion and Partisanship In America,” Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 126, No. 2. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1538-165X.2011.tb00701.x

Abrajano, Marisa and Zoltan Hajnal 2015. White Backlash: Immigration, Race, and American Politics, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.23943/princeton/9780691164434.001.0001

Abramowitz, Alan and Kyle Saunders. 2006. “Exploring the Bases of Partisanship in the American Electorate: Social Identity vs. Ideology,” Political Research Quarterly, Vol 9, No. 2, (June). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/106591290605900201

Alvarez, R. Michael and Lisa Garcia Bedolla 2003. “The Foundations of Latino Voter Partisanship: Evidence from the 2000 Election,” The Journal of Politics, Vol. 65, No. 1, (February). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2508.t01-1-00002

Barreto, Matt and Gary Segura, 2014. Latino America: How America’s Most Dynamic Population is Poised to Transform the Politics of the Nation, Public Affairs Publisher, New York.

Bowler, Shaun, Stephen Nicholson, and Gary Segura 2006. “Earthquakes and Aftershocks: Race, Direct Democracy, and Partisan Change,” American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 50, No. 1, January. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5907.2006.00175.x

Campbell, Angus, Philip Converse, Warren Miller, and Donald Stokes, 1960. The American Voter, New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Campbell, Kristina A. 2011. “The Road to S.B. 1070: How Arizona Became Ground Zero for the Immigrants’ Rights Movement and the Continuing Struggle for Latino Civil Rights in America,” Harvard Latino Law Review, Vol. 14.

Claussen, Ryan L. 2004. “Political Opinion and Distinctiveness: The Case of Hispanic Ethnicity,” Political Research Quarterly, Vol. 57, No. 4, December. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/3219822

Davison, Donald L. and Michael Krassa 2011. “The Myth of the Catholic Vote: The Influence of Ideology and Theology on Catholics in Presidential Elections, 1972-2008,” Journal of Religion and Society, October, Vol. 13.

Fiorina, Morris 1981. Retrospective Voting in American National Elections, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Frey, William. 2015. Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics are Remaking America, Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.

Green, John, C., James Guth, Corwin Smidt, and Lyman Kellstedt 1996. Religion and the Culture Wars: Dispatches from the Front, Lanham, MD: Rowan and Littlefield.

Gonzalez, Mike 2014. “Conservatives, Hispanics, and the Immigrant Experience,” National Affairs, No. 21, Fall.

Hajnal, Zoltan and Michael Rivera. 2014. “Immigration, Latinos, and White Partisan Politics: The New Democratic Defection,” American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 58, No. 4, 2014.

Kellstedt, Lyman A., John C. Green, James L. Guth, and Corwin W. Smidt 1994. “Religious Voting Blocs in the 1992 Election: The Year of the Evangelical?” Sociology of Religion, Vol 55, No 3: 307-326. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/3712056

Kiewiet, M. Roderick. 1983. Macroeconomics and Micropolitics: The Electoral Effects of Economic Issues, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Kinder, Donald and Nicholas Winter 2001. “Exploring the Racial Divide: Blacks, Whites, and Opinion on National Policy,” American Journal of Political Science, 45 (2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/2669351

Layman, Geoffrey C. and Edward G. Carmines 1997a. “Cultural Conflict in American Politics: Religious Traditionalism, Postmaterialism, and U.S. Political Behavior.” The Journal of Politics, Vol 59, No 3: 751-77. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/2998636

Layman, Geoffrey C. 1997b. “Religion and Political Behavior in the United States: The Impact of Beliefs, Affiliations, and Commitment from 1980 to 1994.” The Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol 61, No 2: 288-316.

Layman, Geoffrey 2001. The Great Divide: Religious and Cultural Conflict in American Political Parties. New York: Columbia University Press.

McDaniel, Eric L. and Christopher Ellison 2008. “God’s Party? Race, Religion, and Partisanship Over Time,” Political Research Quarterly, Vol. 61, No. 2 (June). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1065912908314197

MacKuen, Michael, Robert Erikson, and James Stimson, 1989. “Macropartisanship,” American Political Science Review, 83(4): 1125-42. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1961661

National Conference of State Legislatures 2006. “Immigration Policy: 2006 State Legislation Related to Immigration: Enacted and Vetoed,” October 31, 2006.

National Election Pool Poll # 2000, 2004, 2008-STELEC-AZ: Arizona Election Day Exit Poll, Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International. Sponsor: National Election Pool (ABC News/AssociatedPress/CBS News/CNN/Fox News/NBC News).

Nicholson, Stephen P. and Gary M. Segura 2005. “Issue Agendas and the Politics of Latino Partisan Identification,” in Diversity and Democracy: Minority Representation in the United States, edited by Gary Segura and Shaun Bowler, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.

Putnam, Robert D. and David E. Campbell. 2010. American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Reich, Gary and Jay Barth 2012. “Immigration Restriction in the States: Pushing the Boundaries of Federalism,” unpublished paper presented at the State Politics and Policy Conference, Houston, TX. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/publius/pjs025

Republican National Committee 2013. The Growth and Opportunity Project, March 17, Washington, D.C.

Uhlaner, Carole J. and F. Chris Garcia 2005. “Learning Which Party Fits: Experience, Ethnic Identity, and the Demographic Foundations of Latino Party Identification,” in Diversity and Democracy: Minority Representation in the United States, edited by Gary Segura and Shaun Bowler, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.

Valentino, Nicholas and David Sears 2005. “Old Times There Are Not Forgotten: Race and Partisan Realignment in the Contemporary South,” American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 49, No. 3 (Jul., 2005). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5907.2005.00136.x

Voter News Service. VOTER NEWS SERVICE GENERAL ELECTION EXIT POLL, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 (Colorado and Florida) [Computer file]. ICPSR version. New York, NY: Voter News Service [producer]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor].

Voter News Service. Voter News Service General Election Exit Polls, 1996. (Arizona), ICPSR06989-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2011-07-06.

Published
2020-01-31
Section
Articles