Do voters update their racialized political preferences in response to new informa- tion? To answer this long-standing question, we conduct an original survey examining U.S. mainland attitudes toward towards Puerto Rican statehood, a rare consequential racialized issue of low salience. To test whether public support for statehood can be changed, we embedded an information experiment describing Puerto Rico’s political status and its relationship to the U.S. The treatment was designed to increase the perceived connection between the groups through effortful thinking. Descriptively, our results indicate that Americans are generally ambivalent to the idea of Puerto Rico becoming the 51st state. We further find that opposition to statehood is related to anti-immigration attitudes, conservative ideology, and lack of knowledge about the issue. Nonetheless, we also show that highly racialized opposition to statehood can be significantly decreased among all groups of voters by providing simple background information on U.S. and Puerto Rico’s relationship.
Despite a sizable literature on racial priming, scholars have failed to account for the shifting nature of racial appeals. First, theories of racial priming have not yet been widely applied to increasingly common anti‐immigrant and anti‐Latino political appeals. Second, theories of racial priming have not adequately accounted for both an increasingly racialized political climate and increased tolerance for explicit anti‐minority appeals. In two survey experiments fielded both before Trump's rise and after his presidential victory, we find the Implicit‐Explicit (IE) model always fails for anti‐black appeals, sometimes fails for anti‐immigrant appeals, but consistently holds for anti‐Latino appeals. While we find the null effects of implicit versus explicit anti‐black and anti‐immigrant appeals are partly driven by tolerance for the explicit appeals, we also find evidence that white Americans are adept at recognizing the racial content of appeals featuring widely used, congruent issue‐group pairs. Our findings shed light on conditions under which the IE model does and does not hold in the current political era.
In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s 2016 electoral-college victory, journalists focused heavily on the White working class (WWC) and the relationship between economic anxiety, racial attitudes, immigration attitudes, and support for Trump. One hypothesized but untested proposition for Donald Trump’s success is that his unorthodox candidacy, particularly his rhetoric surrounding economic marginalization and immigration, shifted WWC voters who did not vote Republican in 2012 into his coalition. Using a large national survey, we examine: (1) whether racial and immigration attitudes or economic dislocation and marginality were the main correlates of vote switching; and (2) whether this phenomenon was isolated among the White working class. Findings indicate that a nontrivial number of White voters switched their votes in the 2016 election to Trump or Clinton, that this vote switching was more associated with racial and immigration attitudes than economic factors, and that the phenomenon occurred among both working-class and nonworking-class Whites, though many more working-class Whites switched than did nonworking-class Whites. Our findings suggest that racial and immigration attitudes may be continuing to sort White voters into new partisan camps and further polarize the parties.
The rise of micro-targeting in American elections raises new questions about the effects of identity-based mobilization strategies. In this article, we bring together theories of expressive voting with literature on racial and ethnic identification to argue that prior studies, which have found either weak or null effects of identity messages targeting minority groups, have missed a crucial moderating variable—identity strength—that varies across both individuals and communities. Identity appeals can have powerful effects on turnout, but only when they target politicized identities to which individuals hold strong prior attachments. Using two innovative GOTV field experiments that rely on publicly available data as a proxy for identity strength, we show that the effects of both ethnic and national identity appeals among Latinos in California and Texas are conditional on the strength of those identities in different communities and among different Latino subgroups.
Manzano, Sylvia, Gabriel Sanchez, and Ali Valenzuela. “The 2008 Democratic Primary”. Latino America: How America's Most Dynamic Population Is Poised to Transform the Politics of the Nation. Ed. Matt Barreto & Gary Segura. NY: Public Affairs Press, 2014. Print.