Turnout, Status, and Identity: Mobilizing Latinos to Vote with Group Appeals

American Political Science Review 110 (4): 615-630, 2016

51 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2016 Last revised: 7 Jun 2017

See all articles by Ali A. Valenzuela

Ali A. Valenzuela

Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Melissa R. Michelson

Menlo College

Date Written: August 2, 2016

Abstract

The rise of micro-targeting in American elections raises new questions about the effects of identity-based mobilization strategies. While prior research has found either weak or null effects of identity messages targeting minority groups, we bring together theories of expressive voting with literature on racial and ethnic identification to argue that prior studies have missed a crucial moderating variable — identity strength — that varies across both individuals and communities. Identity appeals can have powerful effects on turnout, but only when they target politicized identities to which individuals hold strong prior attachments. Using two innovative GOTV field experiments that rely on publicly available data to proxy for identity strength, we show that the effects of both ethnic and national identity appeals among Latinos in California and Texas are conditional on the strength of those identities in different communities and among different Latino subgroups.

Keywords: Voting, Identity, Latinos, GOTV, Experiments

Suggested Citation

Valenzuela, Ali A. and Michelson, Melissa R., Turnout, Status, and Identity: Mobilizing Latinos to Vote with Group Appeals (August 2, 2016). American Political Science Review 110 (4): 615-630, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2818475

Ali A. Valenzuela (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

130 Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States
609-258-7409 (Phone)

Melissa R. Michelson

Menlo College ( email )

1000 El Camino Real
Atherton, CA 94027
United States
650-543-3844 (Phone)

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