Voters from different shores: Electoral participation in immigrant America

Ramakrishnan, S. Karthick.   Princeton University ProQuest Dissertations Publishing,  2002. 3041860.

Abstract (summary)

In this dissertation, I examine the electoral participation of immigrants to the United States and their descendants. The importance of immigrants to the American electorate has increased considerably in the past two decades, with the growth of the foreign-born population and the racial diversification of second-generation immigrants. In this work, I address three central questions as they relate to patterns of electoral participation across immigrant generations. First, I address the question of whether or not traditional models of voting behavior also account for the participation of first- and second-generation immigrants. Next, I examine whether there are shifts in participation from the first generation to higher immigrant generations. Finally, I consider the role of other factors related to immigrant incorporation that have been hypothesized to have important effects on voting participation, but that have not been subject to systematic testing. This study breaks new ground by considering the experiences not only of Asian and Latino immigrants, but also of those from Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. In my analysis, I rely on a combination of methods and data sources, using individual-level survey data on public opinion and participation, as well as qualitative data such as newspaper reports in high-immigrant states and interviews of leaders in ethno-political organizations at the state and local levels.

The central findings of this dissertation are as follows. First, socioeconomic models of voting participation have a consistently positive effect on participation across racial groups and immigrant generations. These findings challenge studies based on older, state-based survey data which assert that higher age and higher education do not lead to higher voting among non-white immigrants. Another important finding is that straight-line models of voting participation may account for participation within the first-generation, but not across immigrant generations. This work also demonstrates that civic mobilization does not have as strong an impact on immigrant voting participation as does threat over immigrant-related legislation. Finally, the analyses in this dissertation also reveal a series of substantively interesting findings on the electoral impact of various immigrant-related factors such as communist-country origin, dual citizenship policies, multi-lingual ballots and ethnic group size.

Indexing (details)

Political science;
Minority & ethnic groups;
Ethnic studies
0615: Political science
0631: Ethnic studies
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Electoral participation; Ethnicity; Immigrant; Race; Voters
Voters from different shores: Electoral participation in immigrant America
Ramakrishnan, S. Karthick
Number of pages
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 63/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Bartels, Larry
Princeton University
University location
United States -- New Jersey
Source type
Dissertation or Thesis
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
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