Why Do Asian Americans Identify as Democrats? Testing Theories of Social Exclusion and Intergroup Solidarity
Neil A. Malhotra
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Cecilia Hyunjung Mo
February 25, 2014
Asian Americans are overwhelmingly likely to identify as Democrats. This is surprising given that (1) income and voting for the Republican Party are highly correlated, and (2) Asians are the most affluent ethnic group in the United States. We focus on two explanations to address this puzzle: social exclusion and intergroup solidarity. Social exclusion arises from Asians' perceptions that they are viewed as less "American," and associate these feelings with the Republican Party. Additionally, Asians exhibit intergroup solidarity; they believe they have common interests with other ethnic minorities that already support the Democratic Party. As a result, Asians align themselves politically with these groups rather than whites. Using a large-scale representative survey and two experimental studies, we find empirical support for both hypotheses. Our findings speak to identity-oriented explanations of political behavior in American electoral politics as well as conceptions of political parties as coalitions of groups.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 57working papers series
Date posted: April 13, 2014
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