Public Opinion and Voting Behavior

Affirmative Action for Whom? An Experiment on Latino Policy Preferences

Eduardo Salinas University of Illinois at Chicago
Why do Latinos show high opposition toward affirmative action, a policy that benefits them as a group? Using data from a nationally representative survey experiment, I find that racial prejudice drives Latino affirmative action policy preferences to mirror those of non-Hispanic whites – with caveats. My results show that whites oppose affirmative action for both blacks and Latinos, and Latinos oppose affirmative action only for blacks. Both white and Latino opposition to affirmative action is a function of their anti-black racial prejudice. However, I also find evidence that Latino policy attitudes toward affirmative action are also a function of Latino identity. Specifically, among Latinos with a strong Latino in-group identity, we see evidence of a solidarity effect - affirmative action support for both Latinos and blacks.