From Political Behavior:
March 2018, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 149–174 | Cite as
Iris Hui David O. Sears
First Online: 23 March 2017
Many seasoned politicians and scholars have attributed the loss in support for the Republican Party in California to its push for three racially divisive propositions in the mid- 1990s, especially the anti-immigrant Proposition 187. Their costs are said to involve the partisan realignment of Latinos against the Republicans. Using three separate data sources, we find no evidence of a “tipping point” or abrupt realignment among Latino registered voters who made up the electorate. Latinos’ partisanship within California did not change significantly; it did not change much when compared to nearby states; nor did voter registration change materially. The loss of support for Republicans occurred primarily among unregistered Latino voters whom historically had never been strong supporters. Our findings question the conventional wisdom about the powerful political effects of the propositions, and reaffirm the long standing conclusion in the literature that realignment due to a “critical election” is rare.