Friday, September 7, 2012

Political Affiliation and Attitudes of Hispanics

In this heated political season of the Fall of 2012, when the different political parties are trying to get the attention of Hispanics it is of interest to explore how the political affiliation of Hispanics relates to some of their attitudes.

With online data collected by Research Now of Dallas Texas, for the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication at Florida State University, I explore here a variety of attitudes as they relate to the political affiliation of Hispanic respondents. Affiliation was measured by asking respondents “Could you please tell us your political affiliation?” and the answer categories were Republican, Democrat, Independent, and No Party Affiliation, as well as the opportunity to refuse to answer. The attitude items were statements to which respondents could answer any number from 5 to 0, where 5 meant “Completely Agree” and 0 meant “Completely Disagree.”

Independent respondents were more likely to state  the economic crisis has made them more frugal in their purchases than other respondents. They were followed by those with no party affiliation. Republicans and Democrats were somewhat less likely to agree with the statement.

Still, in the context of a scale from 0 to 5, there was a general sense that frugality has been a factor in these consumers’ lives.  Perhaps Independent respondents and those with no party affiliation have opted for those responses because they are politically dissatisfied.

Interestingly, when asked about worrying about retirement, the trend is somewhat different.

In the case of worrying about retirement, Republicans and Democrats seem to be more worried than their counterparts. Again, in the context of the scale we used, this is a concern to many Latinos, in general.  

The use of coupons can be construed as an indicator of economic concern.

Here the reader can see a monotonic decline of habitual use of coupons with political affiliation, from Republican to No party affiliation.  Is it the case that those with a party affiliation are somewhat more systematic in organizing their purchases?

These days it is common for companies to endorse the idea that they need to give back to the communities they benefit from. 

Democrats and Independents are more likely to agree that they favor the companies that give back to the community. This is perhaps associated with socioeconomic status and with a more socially oriented philosophy.

Voting along the lines of political affiliation is obviously more prevalent among Democrats and Republicans. This is perhaps not surprising but the trend confirms that there is a sense of loyalty to the party.

There are many politicians and advertising strategists who believe that to influence Hispanics they need to use Latinos models and that influence is likely to come from other Latinos.

While there are some small differences among affiliations regarding the feeling that one is more influenced politically by others of one’s own ethnic group, the overall level of agreement is very low. This means to me that the influence regarding Latino political behavior is more based on issues and party affiliation than on the ethnicity of influencers.

Similarly, regarding advertising, we find that while there are some differences regarding the influence of others who share a Latino ethnicity, overall the ethnicity of the people featured in the ads does not seem to be highly important.

This may be due to the fact that Latinos come in all colors and that the party affiliation and issues are more important than the ethnicity of the characters in ads. Republicans are particularly less likely to be influenced by the ethnicity of the advertising portrayals.

Overall one can conclude that political affiliation does seem to have a relationship with attitudes about the economy, even though everyone seems to be affected by economic conditions  in general. Further, political affiliation seems to be a matter of loyalty particularly for Republicans and Democrats. The ethnicity of influencers, however, does not seem to be that important to these online consumers.

The data for this study was collected by Research Now of Dallas, Texas, thanks to the generous initiative of Ms. Melanie Courtright. Research Now contributed these data to the research efforts of the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication at Florida State University.  This national sample had quotas for US region, age, and gender to increase representativeness. The distribution of political affiliations was as follows:

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