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Race explains presidential vote choices more than geography, Yale study finds

Miami voters make their choices at touch-screen voting machines.
Jeff Greenberg
UIG via Getty Images
Voters make their choices at touch-screen voting machines.

Racial identity explains voter choices better than geography in the last two U.S. presidential elections, according to the findings of a demographic survey by the Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies.

Black voters have had a strong alliance with the Democratic Party, said Shiro Kuriwaki, an assistant professor of Political Science at Yale University, who led the study that surveyed election results in 435 congressional districts since 2016.

“And we find that this is quite consistent regardless of the geography that you live in,” said Kuriwaki.

However, he said geography does play a role with the white vote.

“For example we find that white voters in Massachusetts, 40% of them support Donald Trump in 2016. Whereas white voters in Mississippi, 84% of them supported Donald Trump. So that's a big difference,” Kuriwaki said.

As for the Latino vote, Kuriwaki said the results are mixed.

“Hispanic voters do vary in their Democratic/Republican alliances. Although, where there are many Hispanic voters, they tend to be predominantly Democratic,” he said.

The study finds that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his GOP majority might have to seek more racially diverse voters to hold onto their control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2024.

The study was published in the American Political Science Review.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.