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Creating a Racially Polarized Electorate: The Political Fallout of Immigration Politics in Arizona and California

Forthcoming in Politics, Groups, and Identities

35 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2012 Last revised: 26 Mar 2015

Gregory Robinson

Binghamton University

Jonathan S. Krasno

Binghamton University

Joshua Zingher

Old Dominion University

Michael A. Allen

Boise State University

Date Written: March 25, 2015

Abstract

We explore the potential political impact of Arizona’s controversial immigration statute, SB 1070, by examining a similar event: the 1994 passage of Proposition 187 in California. Both statutes were efforts to respond to the flow of undocumented immigrants (largely) entering through each state’s border with Mexico, and thus are seen as especially noxious to Latinos. We reexamine and extend the academic literature on the political impact of Proposition 187 and apply the effect estimates to Arizona by simulating the two-party presidential vote from 2012 thru 2032 under a variety of scenarios. Our results show sizable movement toward the Democratic candidate in Arizona — if Latinos and non-Latinos there react to SB 1070 as Californians reacted to Prop. 187. Coupled with population trends, we project the Democratic presidential candidate to become immediately competitive in the 2016 election and to carry the state as early as 2020. However, we also demonstrate that if whites in Arizona become decidedly more Republican in response to SB 1070 then no amount of Latino mobilization will be enough to allow Democrats to carry the state.

Keywords: Latino Voting Behavior, Parties and Elections, Immigration, California, Arizona

JEL Classification: D70, C15

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Gregory and Krasno, Jonathan S. and Zingher, Joshua and Allen, Michael A., Creating a Racially Polarized Electorate: The Political Fallout of Immigration Politics in Arizona and California (March 25, 2015). Forthcoming in Politics, Groups, and Identities. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2160760 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2160760

Gregory Robinson (Contact Author)

Binghamton University ( email )

PO Box 6001
Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
United States

Jonathan Krasno

Binghamton University ( email )

PO Box 6001
Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
United States

Joshua Zingher

Old Dominion University ( email )

Norfolk, VA 23529-0222
United States
3199296320 (Phone)

Michael Allen

Boise State University ( email )

1910 University Drive
Boise, ID 83716
United States

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