Author

Glatz

Date of Award

12-2005

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Gregory Veeck

Second Advisor

Dr. James Biles

Third Advisor

Dr. Deborah Che

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

This thesis examines the relationship between rising Hispanic immigration and its influence on voting patterns. It examines thirteen Southwestern Michigan counties and compares averaged Republican voting percentages from past elections for the U.S. House of Representatives with the 2000 election. Previous research has established that Hispanics, with the exception of Cubans, predominantly vote for Democratic candidates. If this relationship is true for Southwest Michigan, areas with increasing Hispanic populations should display diminishing Republican voting percentages.

A normal Republican vote was computed for 284 minor civil divisions from the period immediately preceding significant Hispanic immigration and was compared to the 2000 election. The difference between the two served as the dependent variable in an OLS regression with other variables commonly associated with voting behavior. The initial regression yielded a statistically significant relationship between the dependent variable and Hispanic population, but the model was a poor fit. Subsequent regressions focusing on minor civil divisions with Hispanic populations greater than 3%, 4%, and 5% showed a marked increase in the goodness of fit for the models, suggesting a “tipping point” where a certain population density suddenly exerts a more noticeable influence on voting results.

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