Racial and partisan voting in a tri-ethnic city: The 1996 Dade County mayoral election Article

Hill, KA, Moreno, DV, Cue, L. (2001). Racial and partisan voting in a tri-ethnic city: The 1996 Dade County mayoral election . JOURNAL OF URBAN AFFAIRS, 23(3-4), 291-307. 10.1111/0735-2166.00090

cited authors

  • Hill, KA; Moreno, DV; Cue, L



  • Through an analysis of the 1996 Dade County, Florida mayoral election, this article explains which is more important in vote choice in a racially-diverse polity -ethnicity or partisanship. We directly test this question in a metropolitan local election that constitutes a unique natural experiment. In September 1996, Dade County held a mayoral election with four major candidates whose partisan and ethnic interactions were not normal for the political history of the area: a Black Republican, a Puerto Rican Democrat, a Cuban American Democrat, and a Cuban American Independent. There was no non-Hispanic White (Anglo) candidate, even though Anglos constituted the bare plurality of the county's registered voters. In the October runoff, the Black Republican challenged the Cuban American Democrat in a county where over 80% of registered Black voters are Democrats, and over 60% of registered Hispanic voters are Republicans. As such, this election gives scholars a unique opportunity to untangle the effects of ethnicity and partisanship on vote choice. Using a three-wave survey of Dade County voters in 1996, we find that ethnicity was an overwhelmingly more powerful predictor of vote choice than partisanship. We assess the implications of how this study can be generalized to other multi-ethnic polities.

publication date

  • January 1, 2001

published in

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 291

end page

  • 307


  • 23


  • 3-4