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December 21, 2004

NAES Reports on Hispanic Voters

The National Annenberg Election Survey (NAES) has just weighed in with its massive 81,422 interview rolling survey on the issue of Hispanic voter preference in the 2004 elections. They combined their rolling tracking surveys for the eight weeks before the election and and two weeks after to obtain a sample of 907 Hispanic registered voters. They compared the vote preference to that measured among Hispanic registrants over the same time period in 2000. The money quote:

There has been recent disagreement over how well Bush did among Hispanics. The television network-Associated Press national exit poll taken on Election Day gave him 44 percent of their votes, compared to 35 percent in 2000. Then a study by Ana Maria Arumi of NBC News, aggregating the 51 individual 2004 exit polls conducted in every state for the same sponsors concluded that the Bush share was 40 percent. But Antonio Gonzalez, president of the William C. Velasquez Institute, a research group that deals with political issues, contended an exit poll he conducted showed Bush got only 33 percent. 

The Annenberg data, which gave Bush 41 percent, cannot resolve the dispute. But it suggests strongly that Bush made significant gains whose precise magnitude is uncertain. The margin of error for the 2004 Annenberg data was plus or minus three percentage points [emphasis and links added].

Note the caveat -- This is a telephone survey of registered voters, some of whom did not vote:

Through both ten week periods, the degree of Hispanic support for each of the major party candidates remained quite level. But there is no way of knowing which pre-election respondents voted as they expected, or voted at all. Nor are post-election recollections as reliable as what people tell exit pollsters on Election Day; there is usually a tendency for more respondents to say they voted for the winner than actually did so.

Nonetheless, the report makes strictly apples-to-apples comparisons of interviews done over the same period time in its 2000 and 2004 surveys, and this sample has none of the clustering issues inherent in exit polling. The unusually large number of interviews helps show where Bush's gains (from 35% in 2000 to 41% this year) occurred. For example, those increases were greatest among Hispanic men and those living in the South and Northeast.

Today's report also includes results from 3,592 Hispanic registered voters interviewed over the course of the year. It provides results for a variety of major issues and political attitudes broken out by national heritage: Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba Spain, Central America, South America. I have not had a chance to do more than skim the tables, but this report provides an unmatched resource.

I am a huge fan of the Annenberg Survey, for reasons I resolve to explain at some point in the New Year. Two things to note: Their sampling and telephone interviewing methodologies are absolutely top notch, and their massive rolling average tracking program is tailor made for exactly this sort of analysis. The report and their methodology page explain it all.

Related Entries - The 2004 Race

Posted by Mark Blumenthal on December 21, 2004 at 02:45 PM in The 2004 Race | Permalink


You touch upon a point that I think is largely overlooked in discussing the so-called "Hispanic" or "Latino" vote: it ain't a monolith.

Treating "Hispanics" as a single voting group is the equivalent of looking at historic voting patterns among "Catholics" and disregarding that some are Irish, some Italian, some Polish, some Croatian, etc.

I'd like to see someone do a study that breaks down "Hispanics" into their component groupings: Mexicans (Texas, California, and elsewhere), Cubans (Florida mostly), Puerto Ricans (New York and New Jersey), Salvadorians (DC and Northern Virginia), and the numerous other subgroups whom I haven't thought of off the top of my head.

Posted by: David Hecht | Dec 21, 2004 6:00:25 PM

If you calculate Exp, the expect number of Bush voters in the NEP sample (from the know election results state-by-state) and compare with Obs, the observed number (p*N) you learn what we all know, that a significant number of persons who actually voted for Bush said they voted for Kerry in the exit poll. The under-reporting in the exit poll is clustered in New England (especially Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, but also Massachussetts), New York, Delaware, the Carolinas, and Alabama. An effect related to Hispanics seems an unlikely hypothesis. What about PC conformism in New England + Black precincts?

Weighting (Exp-Obs)/Exp by the NEP variances and calculating contribution of each state to the Chi-squared doesn't change the above conclusion. The standouts are still standouts.

Posted by: John Goodwin | Dec 22, 2004 4:16:43 PM

Taking the average of the three above-mentioned polls, and using the corrected number for the NEP, yields 38%. Those polls giving over40% would not likely have conspired or matched their results to each other. The only way that could happen, would be if they each used models which greatly overstated minority participation, and then were faced with the identical overestimate of Kerry voters, and one copied the other. That seems rather unlikely though. 44 to 38% is only a little over 1% of the electorate; two points would be more worthwhile for the pollsters to play with. The Republican political geniuses said repeatedly that they couldn't win without 40+% of the Hispanic vote; yet Bush was almost 3 points over his necessary minimum to win, and his Hispanic percentage most likely didn't hit 40%.

Posted by: John S Bolton | Dec 23, 2004 2:29:39 AM

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