Another Nail In The Coffin Of Bush`s “44% Hispanic Share”

Friday`s
Washington Post finally caught up with what we`ve
been talking about here at VDARE.COM since the election:
the National Election Pool`s

exit poll
claim that 44% of Hispanics voted for
George W. Bush is implausible. It is now being viewed
skeptically by professional pollsters. [Pollsters
Debate Hispanics` Presidential Voting
, by Darryl
Fears, November 26, 2004]

I`ve
previously noted the external evidence for this claim (here)
and the internal evidence from inconsistencies in the
exit polls (here).

Now I can
explain why the exit poll results were internally
inconsistent.

Of
course, this won`t make any difference to the Bushies.
They will believe what they

want to believe
.

But it
might interest any

Republicans
wondering if their party

really needs
to be taken over the immigration

cliff
.

The
problem with the exit polls: Bush`s reported shares of
the national and regional Hispanic vote were inflated
compared to the sum of the state-by-state numbers.

As you
may recall:

  • The
    regional figure for Bush`s Hispanic share in the South
    was an extraordinary 64 percent. But the weighted
    average of the "broken-out states" (the ones
    with enough Hispanics to report their partisan
    breakdown) in the region (Florida, Texas, Georgia, and
    Oklahoma) was only 58 percent. It`s utterly unlikely
    that the unlisted states in the South could have made
    up the difference. Florida is home to the most
    traditionally

    rock-ribbed Republican Hispanics,
    the

    anti-Communist Cubans
    . Texas is

    Bush`s home state.
    Yet he didn`t get 60 percent in
    either state. He would have had to win more than
    100 percent
    of the votes in the states that
    weren`t broken out to reach 64 percent for the South
    as a region.

  • Similarly,
    Bush`s regional share in the West was reported as 39
    percent. But the broken-out states (which account for
    97 percent of the West`s Hispanics) summed up to only
    34 percent.

  • In the
    Midwest, the regional share was 32 percent—again
    higher than the broken-out states` 29 percent.

  • Only in the
    East did the regional share and the broken out states
    equate, at 28 percent.

The cause
of this internal discrepancy is that the national and
regional numbers are based on

  • A much
    smaller sample size than the state numbers

  • A much
    longer questionnaire

Across
the 50 states plus Washington D.C., a total of 76,298
voters filled in exit poll questionnaires. Of these,
62,638 respondents (82 percent) answered the short form
questionnaire, which contained only about two dozen
questions. These 62,638 responses were used in
calculating the state results—but not the
regional and national results.

The
regional and national results came from just the 13,660
respondents who filled in the long form (about 60
questions).

Clearly,
this methodology is just asking for trouble.

One
obvious source of error: there might not have been a
large enough sample size of Hispanics among people who
filled in the long form and thus got included in the
national/regional results. The sample size of
"national"
Hispanics would have been around
1,100—bad, but not as good as the 3,700 Hispanics in the
broken-out states.

Edison-Mitofsky,
who conducted the NEP exit poll have a Frequently Asked
Question list that includes this

answer
:


"The margin of error for a 95%
confidence interval is about +/- 3% for a typical
characteristic from the national exit poll and +/-4% for
a typical state exit poll. Characteristics that are more
concentrated in a few polling places, such as race, have
larger sampling errors."

While
telephone pollsters generally use random dialing to get
a representative sample, exit pollsters have to guess
ahead of time on the sample of voting stations they`ll
send their pollsters to.

Race/ethnicity poses a particular technical problem for
exit pollsters—as opposed to, say, gender. Minorities
are distributed in a

lumpy fashion
across the landscape. This increases
the chances of coming up with an unrepresentative sample
of that minority. For instance, if they send a worker
out to measure voting at a

military base,
they are likely to come up with a lot
of minorities, but also more

conservative minorities
than in the

overall population.

The
Edison-Mitofsky FAQ offers an additional warning: "Other
nonsampling factors may increase the total error."

For
example, the difference between the lengths of the
questionnaires could have caused the skewing of the
results.

We know
that Hispanics who are well-educated and work in white-collar jobs tend to vote Republican more than

Hispanic manual laborers.
Perhaps GOP-voting
Hispanic office workers breezed through the long form
while Democratic-voting laborers found it more

intimidating
, and thus were less likely to turn it
in.

That`s
pure speculation on my part. But it could explain why
Bush was more popular among the "national"
Hispanics who filled in the long form than among the
"state"
Hispanics who only finished the short form.

Skepticism about Bush`s share of the Hispanic vote is
spreading. Pollster John Zogby, for example, told the
Washington Post`s
Darryl Fears in the

article
I mentioned above that he believes Bush`s
true share of the Hispanic vote was only 33 to 38
percent. As Fears reported, that`s also in line with
Bush`s share of 34 percent in the

Velasquez Institute exit poll.
(For comparison, the

2000 VNS poll
showed Bush with a 35 percent share of
Hispanics.)

Zogby`s
estimate sounds a little low to me. I suspect Bush
gained among Latinos in 2004—but only by about what he
picked up among everybody else, i.e. about three or four
percentage points.

For
example, Robert David Sullivan of Massachusetts`s
Commonwealth
magazine put together

an interesting map of the U.S
. divided into ten
regions based on county-level voting patterns.

His
"El Norte"
region consists of most of the heavily
Hispanic counties in the U.S. In this sprawling region
along the Mexican border, where one-third of the
population is Hispanic, Bush won 44.10%, up 3.33 points
versus 2000. In the whole country, he won 51.03%, up
3.15 points (all results as of a few days after the
election).

So Bush
ran 0.18 points better in El Norte than in the nation as
a whole—i.e., virtually the same, suggesting there was
no Hispanic surge toward Bush.

(Or,
possibly, a hypothetical boost among Hispanics might
have been balanced by a drop among non-Hispanics.)

Similarly, veteran voting analyst

Ruy Teixeira
took a long look at the actual voting
results in

heavily Hispanic counties
and

concluded
:


"… if 44 percent is the wrong
level for Bush`s support among Hispanics, what is the
right level? Of course, we`ll never really know for
sure, but I am persuaded, by playing with the numbers
and making some reasonable assumptions to correct the
anomalies in the NEP that it is somewhere around 39
percent."

That
would be up four points over 2000`s 35 percent, the same
growth as in the non-Hispanic white vote (from 54
percent to 58 percent). It would confirm the general
pattern that the Hispanic vote for Republicans rises and
falls in the same cycles as the white vote—just
consistently much more Democratic.

And, of
course, as the Hispanic vote is

swelled by immigration,
narrowing the relative gap
could still leave the GOP deeper in the hole in absolute
numbers of votes.

But since
journalists are

typically innumerate
, and don`t pay attention to the
much larger white vote, they get

over-excited
by the ups and downs of the Hispanic
vote.

Here at
VDARE.com, we don`t.


[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and


movie critic
for


The American Conservative
.
His website


www.iSteve.blogspot.com
features his daily
blog.]