Winning Proposal to the Pierce Scholar's Fund: 2012 Competition

Project Title: Revisiting the Source of Ethnic Cues: The Effectiveness of Family and Panethnic Group Appeals in Mobilizing Latino Voters

Faculty Sponsors: Brian Min and Jowei Chen

Graduate Student: Vanessa Cruz

Project Description

This project aims to explain why people choose to vote in elections and how important family dynamics are in this underpinning political socialization process. The project consists of two field experiments in Riverside County in California in which we randomly assign different mobilization techniques to a subset of registered voters. The 2010 Census revealed that the two largest racial groups in Riverside Country are white (43 percent) and Latino (41 percent). Thus, our sample includes both Latino and white registered voters. The 2x2 randomized experimental design consists of mobilization techniques with treatments that vary on the two (2) following dimensions: primed identity (immigrant/Latino) and message recipient (parent/offspring adult registered voter). Along one dimension, the Democratic candidate is referred to as the child of “immigrants” or the child of “Latino” parents. On the second dimension the message will be delivered to either the parent in the household or their adult offspring. This allows for an interactive effect between the recipient of the message and the primed identity. Thus far, scholars have assumed that the only effective primed identity among racial minorities has to be a panethnic racial identity and they have assumed that all family members respond to that salient identity in the same way. The outcomes of interest cluster around four categories: electoral turnout, political knowledge, political engagement and political transmission.