Demographic Change, Threat, and Presidential Voting: Evidence from U.S. Electoral Precincts, 2012 to 2016

29 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2019

See all articles by Seth Hill

Seth Hill

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science

Daniel J. Hopkins

University of Pennsylvania

Gregory Huber

Yale University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: March 7, 2019

Abstract

Immigration and demographic change have become highly salient in American politics, partly because of the 2016 campaign of Donald Trump. Previous research indicates that local influxes of immigrants or unfamiliar ethnic groups can generate threatened responses, but has either focused on non-electoral outcomes or has analyzed elections in large geographic units such as counties. Here, we examine whether demographic changes at low levels of aggregation were associated with vote shifts toward an anti-immigration presidential candidate between 2012 and 2016. To do so, we compile a novel, precinct-level data set of election results and demographic measures for more than 26,000 precincts in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. We employ regression analyses varying model specifications and measures of demographic change. Our estimates uncover little evidence that influxes of Hispanics or non-citizen immigrants benefitted Trump relative to past Republicans, and in fact suggest that these changes helped his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Keywords: demographic change, US elections, immigration, 2016 presidential election

JEL Classification: H00, J6, J1

Suggested Citation

Hill, Seth and Hopkins, Daniel J. and Huber, Gregory, Demographic Change, Threat, and Presidential Voting: Evidence from U.S. Electoral Precincts, 2012 to 2016 (March 7, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3351950 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3351950

Seth Hill

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

Daniel J. Hopkins (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Stiteler Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.danhopkins.org

Gregory Huber

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States

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