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Title: A Place at the Table: The Impact of the “Latino Vote” on American Politics
Authors: Perez, Justin Patrick
Advisors: Valenzuela, Ali
Department: Politics
Class Year: 2014
Abstract: The demographic makeup of the United States is changing rapidly due to the recent and current influx of Latinos (people from Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South or Central America, and other Caribbean countries). Latinos are affecting not only the demographics of our country, but they are also making an impact on American culture through the foods we eat and the music we listen to. This paper explores some of the impacts that Latinos are making in the political arena. Are Latinos realizing the full potential of their political power? What exactly does a Latino vote stand for? These questions are important to ask and explore because just as Latinos have made their impact on American culture, they have made a few impacts on our political landscape as well and as the Latino population increases the political power of Latinos will grow with it. This paper uses three approaches to better understand the behaviors and reasoning behind the Latino vote. The first two approaches are more quantitative while the final approach is purely qualitative. First, I analyzed election data from New Jersey counties in two Senate elections in order to observe the voter turnout rates of the counties when a Latino candidate is on the ballot. I found conclusive evidence that supports previous scholarly works that counties with high proportions of Latinos tend to vote more when a Latino candidate is on the ballot while counties with high proportions of Whites tend to turnout at lower rates than usual. After the observational analysis, I put out an experimental survey designed to study the habits of individual Whites and Latinos. While I found some evidence to support the first prediction, that Latino voters will support the Latino candidate more than a control candidate, there were no significant results that White voters became disinterested in the election when a Latino candidate was present. Evidence was found for my third prediction, that Latinos and Whites would have views that differed significantly on topics such as racial resentment, group consciousness, and ethnic representation, however the topic of prejudice was correlated with candidate choice rather than race. Finally, I conducted 25 surveys with Latinos from my hometown, Union City, New Jersey, and my school, Princeton University. Through speaking with Latinos with different origin countries, different political ideologies, and different age groups, I determined that the Latino vote is more complicated than some scholars may have originally thought- but that the concept of a unified Latino voting bloc is not impossible to attain.
Extent: 113 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Politics, 1927-2017

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