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Scale factors in Hispanic voting behavior

Ryan Douglas Weichelt, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Recent population growth of Hispanics in the United States has pushed Hispanics above blacks as the largest minority population. As a result, politicians have expanded their campaign strategies to attract this growing electorate. Unfortunately, literature concerning the voting patterns of Hispanics is limited by the use of survey data that is hampered by group identification problems and survey errors. These results have often attached common political beliefs to an otherwise ethnically and geographically diverse Hispanic population. The purpose of this dissertation is to address this problem in the literature in a geographical context with a spatial analysis of three distinct spatial scales. These scales include a national, regional, and local scale. ^ Using both T-mode and S-mode factor analysis, the national scale analysis of all the counties in the contiguous United States indicated counties with higher proportions of Hispanics yielded greater Democratic support and lower voter turnout rates than counties with higher proportions of whites. Concerning individual Hispanic groups, counties with higher proportions of Mexican and "Other Hispanic" populations were more likely to vote Democratic than counties with higher proportions of Puerto Ricans or Cubans. ^ The regional scale analysis of South Texas indicated that the largely Hispanic South Texas Region displayed differing voting patterns compared to other Texas counties outside of the regions. In areas with higher proportions of Hispanics, Democratic support was higher and voter turnout was lower than in counties with higher proportions of whites. Further analysis of gubernatorial elections in Texas indicated that Hispanic gubernatorial candidates found their greatest support in counties with larger Hispanic populations. ^ At the local scale analysis of voting districts in Bexar County, electoral cleavages between whites and Hispanics were evident for all elections. Democratic support was greatest in districts with higher proportions of Hispanics and blacks, compared to the high Republican support in districts with higher proportions of whites. Similar to the South Texas Region, Hispanic candidates gained their greatest support in districts with larger Hispanic populations. ^

Subject Area

Geography|Political Science, General|Hispanic American Studies

Recommended Citation

Weichelt, Ryan Douglas, "Scale factors in Hispanic voting behavior" (2008). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3315158.