A Hardened America: The Relationship between Ethnicity and Strength of Partisanship
Although there has been a great deal of research on the correlations between ethnicity and partisanship, there hasn’t been much research on the intensity of partisanship across different ethnicities. For example, we have long known that Latinos, as a whole, are more likely to vote Democrat (Cain, Kiewiet, and Uhlaner, 1991), but how strongly are they tied to the Democratic Party? My research attempts to address the relationship between voters’ ethnicities and their partisanship intensity.
Although I’m focusing my research on ethnic groups (Asian, Black, Latino, Caucasian, Mixed, and Other) living in San Diego, it is important to note a resurgence of partisanship throughout all of the United States as a whole. Over the last 40 years, not only has partisanship increased in America, but the strength of that partisanship has increased as well (Fiorina, 2002). Although large numbers of Latino and Asian immigrants have settled in many places around the United States, their impact has been felt most dramatically in California (Cain, Kiewiet, and Uhlaner, 1991). San Diego serves as a perfect place to study the political behavior of citizens from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds because of its diversity.
Race has always been an important and controversial issue in American politics, but how important is it? Hill and Leighley (1999) believe that “race has played a central, if not defining, role in both national and subnational politics in the United States.” Over the years, candidates have come to realize the importance of studying the different ethnicities in their districts and can no longer merely cater to their own. Ethnicity can no longer be ignored as a major factor for determining Party ID (Hutchings and Valentino, 2004).
Cain, Kiewiet, and Uhlaner stress that age as an important factor in partisanship intensity among different ethnicities. In...