Latinos and School Vouchers: Testing the “Minority Support” Hypothesis


  • *Data are available for replication purposes from the author.

David Leal, Department of Government, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712


Objectives. Voucher proponents, as well as some researchers, argue that minorities and individuals of relatively low socioeconomic status (SES) particularly favor school vouchers. Little work has specifically explored Latino attitudes, with the focus typically on African-American opinions. This article will therefore examine whether Latinos hold unique attitudes toward vouchers.

Methods. Ordinal probit regression analysis of a recent national survey of Latinos, African Americans, and Anglos (non-Latino whites).

Results. In the aggregate, Latinos and African Americans are more likely than Anglos to support vouchers. The Latino population variable is statistically insignificant, however, while the African-American measure is significant and positive. When the aggregate Latino variable is disaggregated into four major Latino national-origin groups, Puerto Ricans are shown to hold uniquely favorable opinions about vouchers. In addition, there are no opinion differences by income and education.

Conclusions. When Catholicism is taken into account, the voucher opinions of Latinos and Anglos are generally indistinct. This suggests that aggregate Latino support for vouchers may drop if Catholic affiliation further declines.