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New Faces, New Voices

New Faces, New Voices: The Hispanic Electorate in America

Marisa A. Abrajano
R. Michael Alvarez
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    New Faces, New Voices
    Book Description:

    Making up 14.2 percent of the American population, Hispanics are now the largest minority group in the United States. Clearly, securing the Hispanic vote is more important to political parties than ever before. Yet, despite the current size of the Hispanic population, is there a clear Hispanic politics? Who are Hispanic voters? What are their political preferences and attitudes, and why? The first comprehensive study of Hispanic voters in the United States,New Faces, New Voicespaints a complex portrait of this diverse and growing population.

    Examining race, politics, and comparative political behavior, Marisa Abrajano and R. Michael Alvarez counter the preconceived notion of Hispanic voters as one homogenous group. The authors discuss the concept of Hispanic political identity, taking into account the ethnic, generational, and linguistic distinctions within the Hispanic population. They compare Hispanic registration, turnout, and participation to those of non-Hispanics, consider the socioeconomic factors contributing to Hispanics' levels of political knowledge, determine what segment of the Hispanic population votes in federal elections, and explore the prospects for political relationships among Hispanics and non-Hispanics. Finally, the authors look at Hispanic opinions on social and economic issues, factoring in whether these attitudes are affected by generational status and ethnicity.

    A unique and nuanced perspective on the Hispanic electoral population,New Faces, New Voicesis essential for understanding the political characteristics of the largest and fastest growing group of minority voters in the United States.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3467-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-17)

    While more than forty-five years separate the broadcast of these two Spanish-language television advertisements, it is remarkable how both messages touch upon similar themes: the ideas of hope and the future, and the importance of having a candidate who understands the needs of the Spanish-speaking community. These advertisements provide a glimpse of how politicians have communicated with the Hispanic electorate, but they also raise a number of interesting questions.² Why have candidates’ appeals to Hispanics remained so similar over such a long period of time? And on what basis do politicians believe that such messages are the ones Hispanic voters...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Hispanic Political Identity
    (pp. 18-34)

    Despite More Than three decades of scholarship on Hispanic politics, there is little consensus on the meaning of “Hispanic political identity.” Scholars such as Lisa García Bedolla (2005) and Rodney Hero (1992) have examined the development of Hispanic political identity in the United States, but, as both authors point out, much work still needs to be done. Hispanic political identity is important to understand because ethnic or racial group identity is a key factor in the political behavior of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States (Dawson 1994; Barreto, Segura, and Woods 2004; Hero 1992; García Bedolla 2003; Meier...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Hispanic Public Opinion and Partisanship
    (pp. 35-73)

    Recent research on American public opinion has explored the origins of political attitudes and opinions and has looked at their stability (Zaller 1992; Alvarez and Brehm 2002). Instead of seeing public opinion as completely fickle and capricious, contemporary research views American public information as influenced by current information flows, as well as by the predispositions and values held by the public. Americans are not completely informed about political affairs, nor are they completely ignorant about political issues; instead, most Americans have opinions about some issues that are of importance to them, and when asked about other issues they have deeply...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Turnout and Political Participation
    (pp. 74-101)

    In Recent decades, the United States has been swept by a new wave of immigration. The U.S. Census Bureau, which keeps track of demographic changes in the United States, found that between the two most recent decennial censuses in 1990 and 2000, the foreign-born population of the United States increased by 57 percent, from 19.8 to 31.1 million. During this period, the native U.S. population increased by 9.3 percent. Also, the percentage of foreign-born who were naturalized American citizens increased by 56 percent, from 8 million to 12.5 million (Malone et al. 2003). As of March 2003, when the Census...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Political Knowledge, Efficacy, and Awareness
    (pp. 102-124)

    Everyday experience brings home the reality that there are some people who are highly knowledgeable about political affairs and contemporary politics—academics, journalists, political activists, and others. And it is likely that every reader of this book knows someone who professes ignorance about politics and who might take pride in his or her lack of political knowledge.But most people fall somewhere in between these extremes: we are all aware that our friends, family members, and colleagues at work know bits and pieces of information about politics and that they tend to accumulate more of these bits and pieces of political...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Voting Behavior
    (pp. 125-151)

    As we have discussed thus far, candidates and political parties are vying to understand and capture the Hispanic vote. Hispanics will make up 25 percent of the population by 2050, and because the rate of Hispanic immigration has been steadily increasing since 1975 (U.S. Census 2007), the preferences and political orientation of this particular electorate are constantly changing and emerging. Hispanics are concentrated not only in key battleground states but also in those with the largest number of electoral votes. Public opinion and survey research reveals that Hispanics’ policy and issue concerns differ from those of non-Hispanics in ways that...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Intergroup Relations and Coalition Building
    (pp. 152-174)

    The emergence of minority candidates onto the urban political scene has occurred only within the last thirty to forty years in the predominantly large urban centers of Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and Los Angeles (Betancur and Gills 2000a; Sonenshein 1997; Munoz and Henry 1986). Hispanic mayors have been elected in important large cities like Denver, Los Angeles, and San Antonio; Blacks have been successful in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. Electing Blacks and Hispanics into office has been achieved through what Browning, Marshall, and Tabb (1984) and others refer to as a “rainbow coalition.” The classic...

  11. CONCLUSION The Complexity of Studying Hispanic Political Behavior
    (pp. 175-184)

    By now, readers should have some sense for the complexities of Hispanic political behavior in the United States, as well as some of the complexities involved in the study of Hispanic political behavior. We have provided in the preceding chapters a portrait that documents the demographic changes in the Hispanic population in the United States, as well as Hispanic participation in politics, voting behavior in national elections, views on important political issues, perspectives on other minority groups, and political values.

    Along the way, we have also looked at some of the important nuances of Hispanic political behavior, with repeated emphasis...

  12. Postscript HISPANICS AND THE 2008 ELECTION
    (pp. 185-198)

    The 2008 presidential election was a landmark event for numerous reasons. The Democratic primaries saw Bill Richardson competing for the nation’s highest elected office, making him the first viable Hispanic candidate to do so. As a Hispanic, the current governor of New Mexico, former United Nations ambassador, and secretary of energy in the Clinton administration, Richardson was considered early in the Democratic primary process to be a formidable candidate. However, other historic candidacies in the Democratic Party— those of Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama—quickly overshadowed Richardson, and he placed fourth in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Richardson withdrew...

    (pp. 199-200)
  14. References
    (pp. 201-214)
  15. Index
    (pp. 215-219)