Hispanics: The Typical American Voter? Comparing the Voting Behavior of Hispanics, Whites and African-Americans Open Access
Downloadable ContentDownload PDF
Hispanics vote at a much lower rate than do whites and African-Americans. But given that the Hispanic community in the United States is both the fastest growing demographic in the nation and the largest minority, their sheer numbers demand that we study their voting behavior more closely. My study focuses on three aspects of Hispanic electoral behavior. First, what factors shape Hispanic voter turnout and do they differ from the forces that shape voter turnout for other voter groups? Second, are the voting rules different for the Latino electorate than for others? For both of these chapters, it is necessary to model voter turnout separately for whites and African-Americans and for Hispanics. Furthermore it is vital to run interactions for each of the independent variables and Hispanics compared to the other demographic groups. I argue that there are significant differences in shaping Hispanic voting behavior compared to other groups. Some of the areas that I examine are religion, the impact of age, and the impact of one's native language since so many Latinos speak Spanish at home, compared to whites and African-Americans. Additionally I examine the strategies of several recent state and federal political campaigns to assess how campaigns in states with large Latino populations craft their voter turnout strategies. I conclude that while some campaigns' strategies mirror some of my findings there are other factors at work that limit the connections between my research and the actual actions taken by campaigns.