"There is a danger that the Portuguese will become more and more assimilated and lose their connection to their identity," the academic, author of an exploratory study on Portuguese-American voting trends for the National Leadership Council, told Lusa.
"What we know about the Luso-American community is obsolete," she said, noting the need for an in-depth study with representative samples.
"We know the Portuguese-American population in terms of socioeconomic and demographic variables, because of the Census", said the academic, who this Monday presented the survey "Voting trends among Portuguese Americans: An Exploratory Survey".
"What we don't know is how they vote, what is their opinion on many topics, what they value most, and their relationship with Portugal", she indicated.
There is little concrete data on how often emigrants and Portuguese descendants go to Portugal, read and watch news from Portugal, and consume Portuguese media. "These are things that we cannot get with the Census," she said. In a study, "we can ask about identity, as they see themselves, to determine how assimilated they have become."
"The culture itself seems to remain strong, there are many parties and festivals", noted the researcher. "What remains to be seen is whether this is passed on to the next generation."
In the exploratory research on voting trends in the Portuguese community, Dulce Maria Scott found patterns very close to the American population, which indicates a high assimilation factor.
"The results we got from this survey show that the way respondents voted is very similar to how the general American population votes," she said.
However, there is not much data on how the younger generations are behaving towards their parents, who emigrated from Portugal to the United States.
"In a representative study, it will be important to see if the children of emigrants who have risen to the middle class professions continue to vote in the same way as their parents," said Dulce Maria Scott.
"In California, in the central valley, the children of emigrants have left farming and gone into middle class occupations. Do they vote Democrat or Republican?" "These are interesting things to explore."
In the future, Dulce Maria Scott would like to see the conditions met, with the necessary funding, to conduct a study with representative samples.