Who’s on My Side? Multicultural Perceptions of Polarization and Major U.S. Political Parties

Regardless of the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election, many Americans will not feel as if America’s political parties truly represent people like them. Here’s what we know about whether multicultural segments think either Democrats or Republicans have their best interests at heart.

With America’s cultural transformation, all brands must pivot to reach and meet the needs of multicultural consumers. Political brands are no exception – so how well are these brands, more commonly known as parties, doing with America’s fastest-growing segments?

Consumers believe political polarization will increase

This October, we at Collage Group surveyed 2,372 Americans on a series of questions about the current state of U.S. politics. We sought to learn how multicultural segments approach the issue of political polarization, and, importantly, which groups of people they think the Democratic and Republican parties represent. From this, we learned to what extent each multicultural segment perceives the major parties as on “their” side, as well as serving the interests of a selection of other groups, including women, the LGBTQ+ community, and retirees.

At the topline level, the answers are largely to be expected: Americans see the Democrats as most likely to support the interests of multicultural segments. Indeed, Americans overall see the Republican Party as best serving the interests of “White People,” and Democrats the interests of the Hispanic, Black, and Asian communities.

But there are important nuances, including:

1. While a plurality of consumers sees the Democrats as better for certain constituencies, these numbers never reach a majority, even when considering segments traditionally thought of as being supported by Democratic platforms.

We find the greatest consensus when considering the LGBTQ+ community, for whom 43 percent of Americans see the Democrats as being the favored political party, with only 14 percent choosing the Republicans. For other segments, such as “parents,” the gap is far narrower, with 27 percent of consumers thinking Democrats are better for America’s parents, and 23 percent choosing Republicans.

2. Black Americans are the most likely segment to see Democrats as best serving not only Black communities, but also the interests of parents and retirees.

The affinity Black consumers have towards the Democratic party is more complex and nuanced than one might think. Over half (55 percent) of the Black segment sees Democrats as doing the most for Black communities, which is the strongest level of agreement for any racial/ethnic segment regarding any of the constituencies addressed. But Black consumers independently over-index on seeing Democrats as doing more for retirees (41 percent) and parents (38 percent).

3. Hispanic Americans, especially the Unacculturated segment, are least convinced that either major party does the most to serve the interests of immigrants.

While 43 percent of consumers see the Democrats as best serving the interests of the immigrant community, the Hispanic segment under-indexes here, at 35 percent. But it is not that they think Republicans are good for immigrants, as they under-indexing on that sentiment as well. Rather, Hispanic consumers are most likely to say that neither party serves the interests of the immigrant community. This is especially true for the Unacculturated Hispanic segment, of whom 30 percent see neither Republicans nor Democrats as supporting immigrants.

4. While three quarters of Americans are concerned about increasing political polarization, less than half of the Bicultural and Unacculturated Hispanic segments are concerned.

Only 46 percent of Bicultural Hispanic consumers, and 16 percent of the Unacculturated Hispanic segment, are concerned about the state of political polarization in the United States. We think there are three interrelated reasons for this. First, across a variety of subject areas we see Hispanic consumers expressing higher optimism than other segments. Second, Bicultural and Unacculturated Hispanic consumers are more likely to compare their experiences in the U.S. with those of their countries of origin, which, especially from their perspectives, are often worse when it comes to governance and the political process. Finally, many of these consumers are not citizens, and therefore may feel a lower personal stake in the in the American electoral system.

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