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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Are Pollsters Misreading the Latino Vote?

Posted by on Sat, Oct 27, 2012 at 10:22 PM

Matt Barreto (better known on Slog as the pollster behind the Washington Poll) has a post up on Latino Decisions in which he wonders if pollsters are (once again) missing the Latino vote. For example, two recent national polls showed Obama winning Latino voters by only 48-42 and 53-44 margins respectively. But eight national surveys exclusively of Latino voters show Obama winning an average 70.3 to 21.9 percent of the Latino vote.

Let’s examine how these faulty Latino numbers create problems with the overall national estimates. Afterall, Latinos are estimated to comprise 10% off all voters this year. If Latinos are only leaning to Obama 48-42, that +6 edge among 10% of the electorate only contributes a net 0.6 advantage to Obama (4.8 for Obama to 4.2 for Romney). However, if instead Obama is leading 70.3 to 21.9 that +48.4 edge contributes a net 4.8 advantage to Obama (7.0 to 2.2), hence the national polls may be missing as much as 4 full points in Obama’s national numbers.

[...] This is the exact story of the 2010 Nevada data in which poll after poll showed Angle ahead of Reid, and Latinos only slightly breaking to Reid. On Election Day Reid won by 5 points, an 8-point swing from the poll average, and he carried Latinos 90-to-10.

According Barreto these polling errors come from small Latino sample size, non-representative samples (Barreto says that robotic IVR methods have "notoriously low and problematic response rates among Latinos"), and a failure to interview enough Latinos in Spanish—problems that have plagued pollsters for decades. It's an interesting perspective from an academic who specializes in Latino polling. Read the whole thing.

[via HA]


Comments (12) RSS

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Reverse Polarity 1
It doesn't matter much if pollsters misread Latino votes on a national scale. California will still go for Obama, and Texas will still go for Rmoney, even if Latino polls are way off. It only really matters in a couple of states that are close enough that they fall within the margin where an error in polling might make for a real mistake. The electoral college is what matters, not the national polls.

Take Arizona, for example. Arizona is sometimes on the list of swing states, and has a large Latino population. Rmoney is currently polling ahead in AZ, but close enough that if the Latino polling is way off, AZ could be a surprise Obama win on election night. Barreto also lists Nevada and Colorado as other close races where inaccurate Latino polling might be leading to a false prediction.

I'm a little more dubious of Florida. Florida's large Cuban population does not always vote in lock step with non-Cuban Latinos in the rest of the country, and tend to be much more Republican. In Florida, I really would expect a more even break in Latino voters.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on October 27, 2012 at 10:51 PM · Report this
venomlash 2
@1 for the CostCo Chicken Meme Win of the Eon! Sadly, the Latino turnout will probably be disproportionately low due to the Republicans' voter suppression measures. It's a real Diego Corneja.
Posted by venomlash on October 28, 2012 at 12:21 AM · Report this
The effectiveness of Republican voter suppression might end up being overstated. Hispanics can still get driver's licenses, by and large. They can't turn someone back just because he's Hispanic. In addition, a high-interest election might translate into an unusually high turnout rate. So who knows?

I so want Obama to sweep all the battleground states, just to see the Republican Party go into a cycle of self- recrimination and soul searching where they reflect on how they've treated minorities and banked on being the White Power party.
Posted by floater on October 28, 2012 at 12:48 AM · Report this
Occupy Seattle 4
The effectiveness of Republican voter suppression may end up being enough if combined with right-out cheating. With voter machines owned by Tagg Romney, it might be just be enough to steal the election for Mittens. And the Republicans can say that they won the election legitimately, because all these faulty polls were showing him neck and neck with Obama. That's why it's imperative that the polls reflect the truth, and that those of who still live in blue states vote all Democrat. It's unfortunately too fucking easy for Republicans to steal elections, as Bush showed.
Posted by Occupy Seattle on October 28, 2012 at 1:15 AM · Report this
Please just let it be November 7th so I can stop stressing about this crap!
Posted by tacomagirl on October 28, 2012 at 1:35 AM · Report this

Romney has a gut shot straight draw to win CA.

It gets more real by the minute.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on October 28, 2012 at 4:28 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 9
Tagg Romney does not own a single voting machine. Get a fucking life, shithead.

That said, I don't think this will make much of a difference. Except maybe in Texas. But they're pretty much a lost cause anyway.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on October 28, 2012 at 7:36 AM · Report this
All the right-wing media needs is a Rmoney lead in the national polls on November 6th, then if Obama wins they can claim conspiracy and continue to rake in the dough. Does anybody seriously think they give one single fuck about facts at this point? They've got bigoted self-entitled white people to pander to, for Allah's sake!
Posted by jeffinfremont on October 28, 2012 at 8:41 AM · Report this
Floater: I'm not sure the current Republican Party has soul searching as a capability. I think they just go into double-down angry we-was-robbed mode.

Dems get depressed, do soul searching and then go into depressed we-was-robbed mode. Note that, once again, the current democrats are more likely to be correct.
Posted by david on October 28, 2012 at 9:55 AM · Report this
Occupy Seattle 13
Fifty Two Eighty,
Why don't you get a life and stop trolling, you closeted Republican. If you don't think Tagg Romney being a significant investor in voting machines in the most significant swing state is a problem, you've been too brainwashed by Tea Party neocon Republicans at Fox News. Something tells me you'd be jumping up and down yelling bloody murder if any Democrat was trying to pull off what Tagg is doing for his daddy. Mittens must be so proud.…
Posted by Occupy Seattle on October 28, 2012 at 2:44 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 15
@1 don't count on that. The only reason Texas is Red is gerrymandering. It's actually a Blue-Purple state.
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 29, 2012 at 11:39 AM · Report this
Where this will really come into play is Nevada, Colorado, and (perhaps) Florida - swing states, big Latino populations.

@3 - Agree, would be great to see Latinos swing the vote in favor of Obama in key states (as they did the Senate in CA & NV in 2010) and call out Romney's "self-deportation" strategy for what it is: hateful and ridiculous.
Posted by sparkglobal on October 29, 2012 at 3:53 PM · Report this

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