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Eagleton Institute of Politics
Eagleton Institute of Politics


America’s Newest Voters:
Understanding Immigrant and Minority Voting Behavior

Foreign migration to the United States is changing dramatically the demographic profile of the American electorate. More than 1 in 5 adults was born in another country, and nearly one-third of all Americans are of non-white and non-European descent. African Americans are no longer the largest minority group in the United States, having recently been eclipsed by a rapidly growing population of Latinos and Hispanics. While Asian Americans account for a relatively small proportion of the U.S. population, they are the fastest-growing minority group. To observers of elections, the impact of foreign migration to the U.S. on democratic politics is of particular interest. What are the electoral consequences of immigration? Immigration is particularly interesting because the enormous influx of new Americans has been disproportionately large in states that are important electorally: California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Illinois.

The material presented here has been designed as a resource for journalists and students interested in minority and immigrant voting in the 2004 election. It includes general information pertaining to the upcoming primary and general elections, such as a schedule of primary election dates and turnout rates in the previous presidential election. In addition, information is presented that addresses the political participation of the minority population in particular. There are also links to resources on minority and immigrant political behavior, as well as links to recent polls on the 2004 presidential election and politics in general.

The web-based material serves as a companion to a scholarly volume of essays that currently is being compiled addressing the topic of minority and immigrant political behavior. A panel of experts in the field of minority and immigrant political behavior is conducting research on the political consequences of foreign migration. In particular, they are examining the character and strategies of organizations that mobilize new citizens to politics; the development of the political psychology of group membership among members of racial and ethnic minority groups; and the patterns of participation and candidate choice among new voters.

The information presented here is organized around four research areas:

recent voting behavior of citizens;
voter registration requirements and schedule of primary elections;
party strength and interparty competition;
ethnic breakdown of citizenry and ethnic voter participation.
For each research topic, fact sheets are provided that present data on the topic. In most instances, information is presented at the state and national level.

In addition, there are links to various resources that address the upcoming presidential election as well as minority and immigrant political behavior.

Links to recent presidential polls takes readers to the websites of news organizations and research centers that provide recent opinion data regarding the upcoming race for the presidency.

Academic sources and other relevant sources link readers to other websites that address issues surrounding the election as well as minority and immigrant political behavior.

Contact Elizabeth Matto, Eagleton Institute of Politics, for more information.