A new electorate? Comparing preferences and partisanship between immigrants and natives

Rafaela Dancygier, Elizabeth N. Saunders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


As immigrants constitute a large and rising, share of both the population and the electorate in many developed democracies, we examine aspects of immigrant political behavior, a vital issue that has gone largely unexplored outside of the U.S. context. We focus on Germany and Great Britain, two countries that provide good leverage to explore both within-country and cross-national variation in Europe. Our overall aim is to assess the impact of the immigration context. As a first step, we investigate whether immigrants and natives have systematically different attitudes on two issues that have dominated postwar European politics: social spending and redistribution. With controls in place, we observe that immigrants are no more likely to support increased social spending or redistributive measures than natives and find support for hypotheses highlighting selection effects and the impact of the immigration regime. Where we do find an opinion gap, immigrants tend to have more conservative preferences than natives. As a second step, we explore the determinants of immigrant partisan identification in Britain and find that the salience of the immigration context helps explain immigrants' partisan attachment to the Labour Party.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)962-981
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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