Multiracial America: Republicans or Democrats?

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Multiracial America
Oklahoma legislator Lisa_Johnson_Billy

A Native American Republican? Political analysts, including many American Indian political activists, tend to assume that Native Americans lean Democratic. Plus, over the past decade, a number of Republican politicians have sparked controversy with their insensitive comments about Indians. But, late last year, the conservative National Review was telling its readers to look for the Republican Party to make inroads among Native Americans. One rising GOP candidate in Oklahoma is Lisa Johnson Billy, who was born into a Chickasaw-Irish family. Elected to the Oklahoma House in 2004, she is now vice chair of the GOP caucus and is deputy whip. (CLICK ON HER PHOTO to read an oral history transcript about her life.)

Racial differences translate into political differences. What are the political preferences for multiracial Americans? Do they mirror the general population, or are they unique?

This week, we’ve discussed the changing demographics of American society, considering the Pew Research Center’s new study of multiracial adults. We considered that the U.S. Census undercounts multiracial Americans, how race can change based on self-identification, whether biracial adults feel closer to one race or another, and the variation in racial discrimination by different biracial combinations. Today, we look at multiracial Americans’ political preferences.

Single-race black Americans strongly identify as Democrats: 92% do so. The same is true for black-American Indians (89%), white-blacks (73%), and white-black-American Indians (72%).

Single-race whites tend to prefer Republicans: 55% feel this way. A similar preference is evident for white/American Indian adults (53%). This multiracial group is the only one that prefers the GOP.

The majority of single-race Asians (68%) prefer Democrats. The same is true for white-Asians (60%).

So, when we examine political preferences, we see a pattern that we’ve observed all week: one race tends to dominate in a multiracial adult. In particular, if black is part of the combination, it tends to dominate the other race.

Are the political preferences of multiracial Americans what you expected?

As we conclude this week, what is your biggest surprise?

Your opinion matters:

Tell us what you think—leave a comment below—and tell friends about this series. You’re free to share these columns or to print them out and show them to friends to spark discussion.

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