The Surprising Stability of Asian Americans' and Latinos' Partisan Identities in the Early Trump Era
60 Pages Posted: 10 May 2021 Last revised: 7 Mar 2022
Date Written: March 4, 2022
Two prominent, compatible accounts contend that Asian Americans and Latinos are not strongly connected to America's political parties and that their partisanship is responsive to identity threats. Donald Trump's political ascent presents a critical test, as Trump reoriented the Republican Party by foregrounding anti-immigrant hostility. Here, we test these perspectives using one of the first-ever population-based panels of Asian Americans and Latinos fielded 2016 to 2018. Across various empirical tests, we uncover surprising strength and stability in respondents’ partisan identities. In a period of pronounced anti-immigrant rhetoric, these groups remained steadfast in their party affiliation. We also show that pan-ethnic identities were stable over this period and that partisanship can predict subsequent pan-ethnic identities more consistently than the reverse. By 2016, pan-ethnic identities were already stably integrated with partisanship, with little evidence of situational shifts in response to identity threats.
Keywords: Public opinion, partisanship, racial/ethnic politics, panel data
JEL Classification: H00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation