Journal article

Anar K. Ahmadov, Gwendolyn Sasse (2015)

Migrants' regional allegiances in homeland elections: evidence on voting by Poles and Ukrainians

Journal Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Short title of the journal JEMS
Number/Volume 11 (2015)
Page references 1769-1793

ISSN: Print 1369-183X, Online 1469-9451

We examine the salience among migrants of a pervasive type of political identity neglected in the interdisciplinary scholarship on transnationalism and migrant political behaviour—homeland regional identities. Using migrants' regional background in their homelands as a proxy for their regional political identities, we estimate its effect on migrants' vote choice in homeland elections using original survey data on Polish and Ukrainian migrants. Contrary to some studies' expectations, in both cases the migrant electorates exhibit the same salient regional divisions found in domestic voting and the individual vote choice is strongly predicted by migrant voters' regional background. While being carriers of new political views that can make them agents of change in their countries of origin in some ways, transnationally active migrants can also help reproduce salient—and sometimes divisive—homeland political identities. The results also shed light on the role of other identities and factors in migrant vote choice.