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Voter Response to Hispanic Sounding Names: Evidence from Down-Ballot Statewide Elections


  • Barth, Suzanne K.
  • Mittag, Nikolas
  • Park, Kyung H.


The study of how voters respond to ethnic heuristics is complicated by the possibility that candidates differ along other dimensions that affect voter choice. This paper focuses on down-ballot statewide elections in which voters are plausibly ill-informed about candidates but can still infer race and ethnicity via the informational content in their names. Using nearly two decades of election results from the state of Texas, we find evidence of voters switching party support when their party's candidate has a distinctively Hispanic name. This result is more pronounced in counties that are expected to have higher levels of racial animosity. These findings are important since holding lower statewide office is a valuable stepping stone for minority politicians who aspire to higher office.

Suggested Citation

  • Barth, Suzanne K. & Mittag, Nikolas & Park, Kyung H., 2019. "Voter Response to Hispanic Sounding Names: Evidence from Down-Ballot Statewide Elections," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 14(4), pages 401-437, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:now:jlqjps:100.00018092

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