Measuring Hispanic Support

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows Obama with a six-point lead in the presidential race, with strong support from Hispanics: By 62% to 28%, ...
by | June 12, 2008

Latino_vote_2 A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows Obama with a six-point lead in the presidential race, with strong support from Hispanics:

By 62% to 28%, Hispanic voters support Sen. Obama. "That does not bode well for Republicans" in the Southwest, the Republican pollster added, in swing states such as Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado, where Hispanic voters are numerous enough to tip the result. Sen. McCain, who comes from a state with a large Hispanic population and has favored liberalizing policies toward illegal immigrants, has hopes of matching Mr. Bush's record of winning more than 40% of Hispanic voters.

Bush's 40 percent share of the Hispanic vote was a highwater mark for recent Republicans and something often referred to by political journalists -- including myself. I brought it up recently in a conversation with Fernando Guerra, a political scientist at Loyola Marymount. He said it's bogus.

"Forty percent didn't happen," he said. Guerra says that the exit polling that gave us that number overrepresented precincts in South Texas and Florida that are disproportionately Republican, by Latino standards. The polling was not meant to measure Hispanic support, he said.

Bush enjoyed greater support among Hispanics than other recent GOP nominees, Guerra says, but he argues that it's mathematically impossible for him to have won 40 percent.

"If Latino support for Bush grew that much between 2000 and 2004. it would explain more than the total growth in his actual votes. It would say he lost white votes, black votes, every demographic group except for Latinos."

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