Non-Hispanic White Immigrants Vote and Identify as Democrats

I used data from the General Social Survey to analyze the party affiliation and voting habits of immigrants by ethnicity and generation. Importantly, this data indicates that White and non-White immigrants tend to favor the Democrat party more than the general US population does, though Whites do so to a less extreme degree.

The GSS offers a party ID scale that includes the following options: strong Republican, not strong republican, independent near republican, independent, independent near Democrat, not strong democrat, strong democrat, and other. For readability, I collapsed the three Republican and democrat options together.

All the data looked at was collected in the year 2000 or later. Natives were defined as people who were born in the US and who had two parents born in the US, while 2nd generation immigrants were defined as people born in the US who had two parents not born in the US.

Party ID by Ethnicity and Immigration Status

Among the general public (take from the same years), 44.1% of respondents were Democrats and 34.5% were Republican, meaning there was a 9.6 point lean in favor of Democrats. Compared to the general population, immigrants of all racial/ethnic groups lean democrat.

It is also interesting to note that, among both Hispanics and Whites, the bias in favor of Democrats is stronger among 2nd Generation immigrants than 1st Generation ones.

The only native group to favor Republicans is Whites. However, this turns out to only be true of Whites when at least 2 of their grandparents were born in the United States.

Party ID of 3rd Gen Whites by Grandparent Origins.png

Even when looking at 3rd+ generation White Americans, there is a slight preference for Democrats among those who have 3 or more grandparents who were born outside of the United States.

It is worth checking how these party ID numbers relate to actual voting. As can be seen below, 2nd generation Whites typically vote in favor of Democrats by a large margin:How 2nd Gen White Americans Voted 1996 - 2012.png

Sometimes, it is claimed that immigration should be limited to Whites in order to avoid the Democrats getting an unfair electoral bump from immigration. This data implies that this argument is misleading because even White immigrants favor the Democrat party.


3 thoughts on “Non-Hispanic White Immigrants Vote and Identify as Democrats

  1. One can still argue that if immigration HAD to be taken, White immigration is still favorable due to them leaning most towards native Whites’ political views.
    Also, aren’t you Civic Nationalist now?


  2. Also, now that I think about it more, we need further data too for immigration in the long run, because while White immigrants may be Democratic in the first few generations, they may not be when they’re fully disconnected from the immigrant culture that made them Dems in the first place. Your graph somewhat supports this because as you can see, the less immigrant grandparents they have, the more their Republican.
    I’m leaning more towards this position due to the simple fact that Whites loosely haven’t changed in voting in the long term (since around the 1980s) DESPITE still gaining White immigrants, supporting my theory that they integrate in the long run but not in the short term; while on the other hand, we still see Hispanics and Blacks vote Dem in the long term and have loosely stayed there.

    So if you’re worrying about long term immigration, Whites are where it’s at.
    If you’re looking at short term immigration ON WHO IS ONLY DEMOCRATS then it’s whatever race.
    HOWEVER, if you take in percentage of Democrats + Republican, Whites still take the cake.

    I’m still leaning towards the political argument holding weight because we care in the long run too, which can far out way the short run: especially since we do not take in enough immigrants pure generation to outway the native-vote (but we’re getting there!).


  3. Pingback: Deconstructing the White Vote | Ideas and Data

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