Polish Americans, Political Partisanship and Presidential Elections Voting: 1972-2020


  • Anne M. Gurnack University of Wisconsin-Parkside
  • James M. Cook University of Maine at Augusta


Polish Americans, Voting, Partisanship, Ethnicity, American Politics


Although there are 10 million Polish Americans in the United States, this group has been understudied recently, with most work relying on unrepresentative samples. We fill in knowledge gaps on party affiliation and presidential voting with data from 1972-2018 waves of the General Social Survey. Until the last decade, Polish Americans were consistently Democratic in party identification and presidential voting. Recently, however, this group’s voting has become more moderate, bringing it into greater alignment with the overall American electorate. Our findings support current political thought about US Poles overall, while challenging secondary assumptions in ways that suggest further longitudinal study.


Download data is not yet available.


Brozek, A., (1985), Polish-Americans: 1854-1939, Warsaw: Interpress.

Bukowczyk, J.J., (2009), A History of the Polish Americans, New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.

Brooks, C., Manza, J., (1997), Social Cleavages and Political Alignments: US Presidential Elections, 1960-1992, in American Sociological Review, vol. 62, no. 6, pp. 937-946.

Erdmans, M., (2007), Opposite Poles: Immigrants and Ethnics in Polish Chicago, 1976-1990, University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Greene, V., (1980), Poles, in Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, pp. 787-203, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Jelen, T., (2018), ‘Can We Get the Catholic Vote?’ The Effects of Catholic Running Mates in Presidential Elections, in Catholics and US Politics after the 2016 Presidential Election, pp. 193-207, London: Palgrave MacMillan.

McDermott, M.L., (2009), Voting for Myself; Candidate and Voter Group Association Over Time, in Electoral Studies, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 606-614.

Pienkos, A.T., (1978), Urban Politics in Urban America: the Polish Experience in Four Cities, New York: The Polish American Historical Association.

Pienkos, D.E., (1976), Research on Ethnic Political Behavior Among Polish Americans: A Review of the Literature, in The Polish Review, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 123-148.

Pienkos, D.E., (2015), Politics of Polish American in the United States, in The Polish American Encyclopedia, pp. 421-425, Jefferson: MacFarland and Company Publishers.

Pienkos, D.E., (2021), Is There and Has There Been a ‘Polish Vote?’: A Partly Contrary View, in European Journal of Transformation Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 117-128.

Radzilowski, J., (2009), A Social History of Polish American Catholicism, in US Catholic Historian, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 21-43.

Radzilowski, J., (2015), Catholicism, Polish American, in The Polish American Encyclopedia, pp. 52-54, Jefferson: MacFarland and Company Publishers.

Radzilowski, T., Stecula, D., (2000), Polish Americans Today: A Survey of Modern Polonia Leadership, Hamtramck: PIAST Institute.

Renkiewicz, F., (1973), Poles in America: 1608-1972, A Chronology and Fact Book, Dobbs Ferry: Oceana Publishers.

Sand, L., (2022), U.S. Political Ideology Steady, Conservatives and Moderates Tie, Gallup Organization, January 17. Retrieved January 20, 2022 from: https://news.gallup.com/poll/388988/political-ideology-steady-conservatives-moderates-tie.aspx.

Smith, T., Marsden, P., Hout, M., Kim, J., (2018), General Social Surveys, 1972-2018, Chicago: NORC at the University of Chicago.

Stecula, D., Principal Investigator, (2022), Polish Americans Today, Hamtramck: PIAST Institute.

Stecula, D., Radzilowski, T., (2014), Polonia: Today’s Profile, Tomorrow’s Promise, Hamtramck: PIAST Institute.




How to Cite

Gurnack, A. M., & Cook, J. M. (2021). Polish Americans, Political Partisanship and Presidential Elections Voting: 1972-2020. European Journal of Transformation Studies, 9(2), 30–39. Retrieved from https://czasopisma.bg.ug.edu.pl/index.php/journal-transformation/article/view/7085