Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Race is the most powerful predictor of how immigrants will vote: I've shown in recent posts that neocons are flat wrong when they say that mass immigration is good for conservatism because immigrants move right after assimilating into American society. Non-white immigrants actually move left as they move up, as do those with no religion. The old belief that immigrants are an upwardly mobile bunch, and that people with increasing incomes become Republicans is false: 1) because the majority of folks from the largest immigrant group--Mexicans--as well as many from other groups do not become high-income, and 2) many immigrants are not white and not religious, and my analysis of GSS data has shown that these two groups become hardcore Democrats as their incomes rise.

One question I haven't answered is, which of these factors--income, religiosity, or race--is most important in determining whether immigrants vote for Republicans? Below, I show the results of a multivariate analysis. For race, I created a variable I called "social distance from white" where whites=1, other=2, and black=3.

Voted for Bush in 2000 (OLS standardized coefficients)

distance from whites -.294*
personal income .037
church attendance .171*
N = 129

* p < .05, one-tail test

Contrary to conventional wisdom, higher income immigrants are not more likely to vote Republican. Religious immigrants were more likely to vote for Bush, but the most powerful predictor is being white.

Based on this model, 69 percent of immigrants who are white and attend church more than weekly are predicted to vote for Bush; the percent for black immigrants who never go to church is 16 percent. For other non-whites who never attend church (e.g., Asians, Hispanics) 23 percent are expected to vote Republican.

The obvious implication for conservatives is that if they want to conserve themselves, they should favor one of the following: 1) an end to all immigration, 2) an increase in immigration among people who are white and religious, or 3) a reduction in the numbers of their counterparts (or 2 and 3 together).

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