Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Latino politics, Hispanic American politics, Political Ideology, Race and Ethnicity, American Political Behavior, Public Opinion

Major Advisor

Shayla C. Nunnally

Associate Advisor

Charles R. Venator-Santiago

Associate Advisor

Jeffrey W. Ladewig

Field of Study

Political science


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Ideology in American politics is usually measured along a liberal-conservative continuum depending on a person’s position on issues such as the role of government in the economy and the regulation of social behavior. This framework has been a poor fit for understanding Latino political behavior. This dissertation argues that to understand Latino political behavior it is necessary to understand Latinos’ ideological thinking. I argue that Latinos’ shared cultural traits and their core beliefs (rooted in a common experience) inform three distinct Ethno-Ideologies: pan-ethnic, co-ethnic and ethnic. These Ethno-Ideologies sort Latinos depending on how much in common they think share with other Latinos. To test the theory, I use data from the 2006 Latino National Survey, the largest nationally-representative survey of Latinos. These data are supplemented with qualitative insights from focus groups conducted with Latinos in Phoenix, Arizona. The findings suggest that ideological thinking among Latinos in the U.S. is more rooted in the experience in which the core beliefs are based than in their shared cultural traits.