Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Letter of the Day | The Surge Is Working »

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Obama’s Hispanic Problem Doesn’t Exist

posted by on June 17 at 16:00 PM

The recent NBC poll on Hispanic preference for the next president isn’t just interesting for the fact that a major piece of conventional wisdom appears to have been based on mind-blowingly inane suppositionit’s also interesting for the fact that the NBC political team is using the kind of language that makes it nearly impossible for anyone to continue using Obama’s Hispanic problem as a talking point and retain any kind of credibility.

In addition to our recent NBC/WSJ poll, which showed Hispanics breaking for Obama 62%-28%, a new survey of 800 Latino voters from 21 states finds that 60% of them plan to vote for Obama versus 23% for McCain. That is down considerably from the 40%-plus Bush received in 2004. Its no longer fair to say that Obama has a problem with Latino voters; McCain does. This was a case of conventional wisdom that was never based on fact, just semi-informed speculation based on primary exit polling and bad stereotypes of Latinos.

Polling is a really shoddy way to make a fact-based argument, unless the polling indicates a seismic 37% gap between two candidates. In which case, it is probably safe to say that Hispanic voters favored Clinton over Obama, but overwhelmingly favor Obama over McCain.

RSS icon Comments


The big problem is that Hillary won California and New York. How is Obama going to get enough electoral votes without those two big states?

Posted by elenchos | June 17, 2008 4:36 PM

It's not just that Hispanics like my relatives are so much in favor of Obama, it's that women overwhelmingly choose him too.

What is surprising is how many deadenders hate America so much that they support McSame.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 17, 2008 4:37 PM

That "like my relatives" was totally unnecessary Will.

Posted by Jerod | June 17, 2008 4:45 PM

@1, at least as far as the very large Hispanic populations of those two states go, Ryan answered your question with the last sentence of that post.

Many people have assumed that Hispanics, like the "bitter white women," would vote for McCain should Clinton be taken off the ballot. As most polls are showing, that is overwhelmingly not true.

(Note: Turns out the polls are showing that it's not true of the bitter white folk either, but the noisy wheels are getting all the (internet) grease for now, anyway.)

Posted by Karla | June 17, 2008 4:51 PM

I don't know about your relatives, Jerod. Just mine. I have friends who aren't that keen about him who are Hispanic, so I didn't say "all Hispanics".

As to California, polls show (CNN, WaPo, ABC, WSJ) that Obama has a clear lead there, including amongst Hispanics and Women.

I doubt he'll have a problem with New York, but haven't seen anything about them yet.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 17, 2008 4:59 PM

I was going to add that Hillary winning Texas takes that state away from McCain, but I thought that would be too obvious. Guess I was wrong.

Posted by elenchos | June 17, 2008 5:02 PM

elenchos @1, did you not read the post you're commenting on? Winning a state in the primary has approximately nothing to do with winning it in the general.

Posted by lostboy | June 17, 2008 5:04 PM


Really, really, really absurd. Almost like maybe I didn't mean it.

Yet if you had believed that Obama wasn't going to win Hispanics, then you would need to have also believed that he wouldn't win California and New York. And you'd have believed he would win Idaho.

Posted by elenchos | June 17, 2008 5:11 PM

Hopefully this will put to rest some calls for Richardson as VP. Obama does not need him.

Posted by add it to the list | June 17, 2008 5:13 PM

Hopefully this will put to rest some calls for Richardson as VP. Obama does not need him. Obama would lose more votes than he would gain.

Posted by one less VP | June 17, 2008 5:14 PM

Lo con respecto a-derrotaremos en noviembre

Posted by clintonsarmy | June 17, 2008 5:19 PM

@8 Apparently some snark detectors aren't working today.

@5 538 shows Obama with almost 17 point leads in both CA and NY.

Posted by Mike of Renton | June 17, 2008 5:24 PM

@10 Why would Richardson as VP lose votes for Obama?

Posted by Mike of Renton | June 17, 2008 5:26 PM

elenchos @8 and Mike @12, yeah, I rolled a natural 1 for detect snark there.  Egg on my face.

Apologies elenchos for the overheated response.

Posted by lostboy | June 17, 2008 5:28 PM


Posted by elenchos | June 17, 2008 5:36 PM

Tu no hablas para nosotros-- vamos a votar por Obama en noviembre.

Porque votaria contra sus propios intereses?

Posted by V | June 17, 2008 5:56 PM

what the hell? 800 latino's now represents millions of latinos?

what a load of crap.

Those 800 DO NOT REPRESENT ME nor anyone else that I know in the "latino" community.

Posted by sir jorge | June 17, 2008 6:40 PM

Hmmm polls are valid when they support something we like, but when they don't they're totally invalid.

Okey dokey, got it.

Actually, polls are valid to a point. Always. Like the polls in the Washington Post today showing independents are splitting between Obama and McCain and Obama's nos. are falling among those voters.

or this one averaging lots of polls and showing an Obama squaker victory (2 electoral college votes) if election were held today (Obama losing MI, losing FL, losing VA, losing MO, losing NC and al southern states and losing NV too, winning OJ IA NM CO).

Not the sweeping change the map scenario predicted and promised and certainly waaaaaaayyyyy behind where he should be given the generic D-R numbers.

But no, don't look at any "negative" poll data, it's more fun to cherry pick the positive just like Bush cherry picked the intel.

check it out:

Posted by PC | June 17, 2008 6:56 PM

@13, I take it back... He probably wouldn't lose votes, but he wouldn't gain many new ones.

Posted by I take that back | June 17, 2008 6:56 PM

Actually, sir jorge, that poll seems to be an okay (though they're never perfect) representation of how we will vote-- as a group, of course. No one is claiming to speak for you and your friends except "clintonsarmy" up there.

Most latinos vote for the democratic candidate, and most of my friends, old classmates, family members, and acquaintances in Nogales are voting for Senator Obama. The more conservative, religious, older latinos might vote McCain, but I think 35% is a good estimate for them.

Posted by V | June 17, 2008 7:31 PM

BHO has gone out of his way to support illegalImmigration in order to gain the Hispanic vote, and it looks like it's paying off for him.

Back in 2006, he appeared at an event in support of illegalImmigration which was organized by people linked to the MexicanGovernment. One of the main organizers is even an official with a Mexican PoliticalParty.

Whether the rest of us want a president who's not entirely clear which country he's supposed to be working for remains to be seen.

Posted by The details | June 17, 2008 7:48 PM

21, take your xenophobia back where it came from. Out here in America, we work with other nations to better both parties.

Illegal immigration is a scapegoat of an issue and you have bigger problems in your own life to be worried about. Mexican-Americans especially are contributing to this nation in a big way.

Claiming Obama is pro-immigrant is one thing, but claiming he is "pro-illegal-immigrant" (how dare he grant illegals human rights!) is like claiming he is "pro-mandatory-abortions-for-all".

Posted by eyeroll | June 17, 2008 8:13 PM

absolutely. the pundits just wanted to create a problem. older, traditional latino voters favored clinton and have switched to obama that was always the case. younger latinos have always been with obama even in california. villaraigosa, huerta, and all the california politicos are with obama.

old man mccain blew it when he started siding with the base of the gop and scapegoating latino immigrants.

Posted by SeMe | June 17, 2008 8:59 PM

60% of those 800 Latinos represent me and pretty much everyone else I know in the "latino community" (aside from a few die-hard anti-castro cuban republicans).

Posted by jon c | June 18, 2008 6:59 AM

Thank you @ 22, you took the sentiment right out of my fingers...

@21 you speak of the Mexican government as if it's a terrorist organization. Obviously with so many citizens living and working abroad, it behooves the government to secure them human rights and legal documentation-- and as president Sen. Obama will have to work with lots of foreign governments, including (and especially) Mexico.

Posted by SDizzle | June 18, 2008 8:03 AM

Comments Closed

Comments are closed on this post.