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More on Political Behavior of Internal Migrants in the US

- December 23, 2010

In my post earlier this week on the “political implications of the census”:https://themonkeycage.org/2010/12/political_implications_of_the_.html, one of the comments referenced a paper by that turns out to be written by Professor “Jason A. MacDonald”:http://jasonmacdonald.polisci.sitespace.wvu.edu/home and “William W. Franko”:http://www.polisci.uiowa.edu/graduate/bio/franko.shtml. MacDonald was kind enough to send along a link to an “ungated version of the paper”:http://slate.wvu.edu/r/download/82199. The gated version is “available here”:http://apr.sagepub.com/content/36/6/880.short. Here’s the abstract:

bq. We consider how state political environments can alter the party identification and political behavior of individuals. Using panel data well-suited to assess the influence of migration on individual-level phenomena, we find that migrants alter their party identifications toward the majority party of their new states. Applying the estimates from this analysis to the 2000 presidential election suggests that individual-level change can alter presidential election outcomes in states if migration patterns meet certain conditions.

Their findings seem to confirm the concern I raised with the assumption that Democrats from Boston will automatically behave the same way once they move to Arizona. However, another comment on my original post by “consulscipio236” also raises another interesting and countervailing implication of the cross-pressures argument:

bq. This is a good point on cross pressure, but it works both ways. If a liberal family from Cambridge moves to a conservative neighborhood in Arizona, they may become somewhat less partisan and less liberal. On the other hand, the conservatives in their neighborhood whom they interact with would see that these perfectly respectable and reasonable people are liberal, so these neighbors might become less paritsan and less liberal. True the affect would be less on the people from Arizona than those from Cambridge, but migration of many Cambridge families to many conservative regions of the country could somewhat dilute conservative strength overall.

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