The Economy Across Race and Region: Unemployment Fails to Dampen Positive Outlook Among African Americans and Latinos


Todd Shields

Document Type


Publication Date



Political attitudes, political behaviors


Recent news reports suggest that the economic recession has hurt some groups more than others, particularly African Americans and Latinos. The findings from the Blair-Rockefeller Poll indicate that while unemployment rates are substantial among African Americans and Latinos, these groups still have surprisingly optimistic views of their economic future. Further, the survey reveals substantial regional variations – with African Americans from the South reporting comparably more positive expectations. While previous research suggests that high unemployment rates result in election backlash for the incumbent party, current economic conditions have not translated into negative views of the future among African Americans and Latinos. These findings challenge long-held assumptions about the impact of the economy on political attitudes and behaviors and may require scholars and political strategists to reconsider previous approaches during the upcoming presidential election. To the extent to which current economic troubles continue to be greater among various groups or regions across the country, presidential hopefuls may face an uneven terrain when seeking party support during the upcoming presidential election.