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Hispanic Political Views


Hispanic Political Views and Presidential Election Voting Patterns

Michael Maxey


As part of the requirements for completion of a statistics course at Duke University provided by ("Data Analysis and Statistical Inference"), I proposed the following statistical analysis exercise to assess whether there is a correlation in values and voting records of Hispanics over the last forty years of Presidential elections in the US.  This proposal (1) identifies a research question, (2) specifies a dataset and (3) provides exploratory analysis to if data set is appropriate for the answer the research question.


Research Question: Are Hispanics as a population more liberal or more conservative and does their voting record in Presidential elections since 1972 correlate to their political views?  The U.S. Hispanic population is the fastest growing minority group in the country with Census projections estimating that by the year 2050, one out of four Americans will be Hispanic. In the latest Presidential election, more than 75% of Hispanics voted for the Democratic candidate running on platform that could be considered liberal by many Americans. The question my research wants to explore to determine dependence between two variables (1) Hispanic ethnicity and (2) political views. The specific question is: “What are the political views of U.S. Hispanic residents?”Intuitively, one might think that Hispanics are liberal given their strong voting patterns for Democratic candidates in U.S. Presidential elections. By analyzing the data, I seek to provide a historical description of the political views of Hispanics. I want to then compare Hispanic historical voting records, assess how those voting records relate, or not, to GSS survey results for Hispanic political values, and develop an argument for actions needed to align Hispanic voting with values. The overall objective of this research is to create a departure point for discussing future political strategy considerations required to ensure that Hispanic voting patterns match political views.


Data Set: Using the General Social Survey (GSS) Cumulative File (1972 – 2012), two variables were identified to determine the political views of Hispanics: (1) “hispanic” – representing non-specific Hispanics; and (2) “polviews” – representing political persuasion (moderate, liberal, conservative, etc.). These two categorical variables will be used to obtain an overall assessment of Hispanic political views over time. These views will then be matched against Presidential election outcomes and the percentage of Hispanics that voted for the two primary parties (Republican and Democrat).


Exploratory Data Analysis: R software was downloaded to my personal computer and the data set represented by “url( was loaded. A preliminary analysis using the command “plot(gss$hispanic~gss$polviews)” was used to create a rough table showing the political views of Hispanics during the period (1972 – 2012). For my project I will work to analyze this data set by year, country of origin and political views to break out different aspects of the impact of political views on voting in U.S. Presidential elections. R table based on Hispanic & Political Views provided the graph below showing a large majority of Hispanics are moderate to extremely conservative in their political viewpoints. The next step in my project will be to disaggregate this data by year, graph political views over time, and compare that to Hispanic voting percentages in U.S. Presidential elections for the two major political parties – Republicans and Democrats.


This data analysis exercise is still underway.

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