Bush Didn`t Win 44% of Hispanic Vote —The Smoking Exit Poll
On Sunday, I
showed why the widely-reported claim by the
notoriously-flawed $10 million National Election
exit poll that George W. Bush`s share of the
Hispanic vote leapt from 35% in 2000 to 44% in 2004
didn`t match up with the actual votes counted.
Today, I will demonstrate that
NEP`s Hispanic share estimate—reached after massive data
massaging to eliminate the embarrassing fact that it had
originally predicted a solid Kerry victory—is
A seemingly technical question—but
actually crucial for
Secretary of State
Colin Powell has already been in Mexico to
revive talks over opening the borders, just days after
the election. Yesterday, the Washington Times`s
Bill Sammon reported that President Bush has met with
The Administration intends to
fast-talk Congressional Republicans into taking
more immigrants by brandishing Bush`s
alleged 44% Hispanic exit poll share.
The press has been scratching its
head all week, trying to figure out the reasons behind
the NEP`s Hispanic share data—really, the biggest
surprise in an election of remarkably few surprises. The
profile of Bush`s 2004 voters is almost identical,
regionally and demographically, to his
2000 profile, just three points larger…except,
supposedly, for Hispanics.
The Latino figure in the exit poll
is a particular shocker because the Republican campaign
brain trust, which had spent the first years of the
Bush Administration boasting about how it was going to
win over lots more Hispanics, had lately
given up pushing such claims. Poll after poll showed
Bush was headed toward roughly the same
performance with Latinos as in 2000.
Indeed, the Nov. 15th issue of
Newsweek reveals in a chapter of its instant
history of the campaign entitled
"Down to the Wire" that Karl Rove`s pollster Matthew
Dowd wasn`t expecting to get even 42% of the Hispanic
In a paragraph devoted to Dowd`s
reactions during Election Day, Newsweek has Dowd
thinking: "Bush seemed to be doing surprisingly
well with Hispanics, winning 42 percent of their votes…"
Dowd, of course, oversees a private
polling operation that dwarfs most of the public polls
in size and accuracy. So his surprise at the 42% share
(much less than the 44% number that the NEP ultimately came
up with) shows that the Republicans` internal polls must
have been pointing toward a Hispanic share down in the
There`s a very simple explanation
for this Hispanic-share surprise:
It didn`t actually happen.
The only evidence of a
disproportionately large Hispanic surge toward Bush is
in this one NEP exit poll—which also, it`s worth
remembering, also predicted that Kerry would win by
Reporters keep looking for actual
physical locations where the Hispanic tidal wave carried
Bush to victory. They aren`t finding much.
Consider, for example, this
map showing all the counties in the U.S. that
switched from Democrat to Republican (in red) since the
2000 election. Very few counties in heavily Hispanic
areas changed sides.
In my Sunday VDARE.com column, I
showed how implausible was the exit poll`s claim that
Bush`s share of Hispanics in Texas had skyrocketed from
43% to 59%.
Michelle Malkin has directed me to this Houston
article by Mike Tolson headlined "Latinos`
support for Bush debated: Exit-poll math doesn`t add up,
one institute says." [Nov. 6, 2004,] The point:
Bush actually did claim almost 60 percent of the Latino
vote statewide, his overall margin over Kerry in Texas
should have been closer to 70 percent, not the final 61
percent to 38 percent, Gonzalez said."
But you don`t even have to compare
the NEP poll to reality to see that it`s untrustworthy.
It`s also internally inconsistent.
This is weirdly higher than Bush`s
share in the Southern states of Florida and Texas, which
have the largest Hispanic populations.
I did some digging along the lines
that Bolton suggested and quickly hit paydirt.
Here`s the background: the NEP exit
poll, as reported on CNN and other leading outlets,
breaks out Presidential election numbers at three
nationally, regionally (East,
West), and by states.
In each of the regions, not just
the South, the sums of the individual states` number of
Hispanic votes for Bush add up to less than the exit
poll`s total regional number of Hispanic votes.
The NEP reports the Hispanic share
of the total vote in all states, but it only reports
exactly whom Hispanics voted for in those states where
there`s a statistically significant sample size of
In the South, for example, only
four of the fourteen states have enough Latinos for the
NEP to break out Bush`s and Kerry`s shares: Florida,
Texas, Georgia, and, last and least, Oklahoma.
By combining the exit poll data
with turnout data from the
United States Election Project, we can see that the
Bush`s Hispanic vote totals appear to be systematically
If we add up what the exit polls
say was the total of Bush Hispanic votes from the
broken-out states in each region, you repeatedly find
that he would have had to have won an absurdly high
share, often over 100% (!), in the other, unreported
states in the region for the regional total to be
Let`s start with the South. The
exit poll claims Bush won a jaw-dropping 64% of the
Hispanic vote there, up 14 points from
The South has the most Hispanic
voters of any region, according to the exit poll—35% of
the national total. So, if Bush`s Hispanic share is
exaggerated in the South, that would have a sizable
effect on the national number.
Traditionally, Florida has the most
Republican-voting Hispanics in the country due to
Cuban population. The NEP poll reported that
56% of Florida`s Hispanics voted for Bush. By
contrast, a Florida exit poll conducted by the New
Democrat Network claimed that only 46% voted for Bush,
but no matter. Either number is still below that 64%
Bush share the national exit poll claimed to find in the
Something is strange if Florida`s
Hispanics are less Republican than the regional average.
Less plausibly, the NEP exit poll
alleged that Bush`s share in Texas zoomed up to 59
percent. But even if we take that as gospel, that`s
still less than the 64% claimed for the South
Florida and Texas between them have
over 4/5ths of the South`s Hispanics. So to get the
overall Southern regional Hispanic share to 64%,
Hispanics in the remaining Southern states would have
had to be incredibly pro-Bush. Yet the NEP reports that
the third largest concentration of Hispanics in the
South, in Georgia, only gave 56% of their votes to Bush.
So, where are these
hyper-Republican Southern Latinos hiding?
In Oklahoma, the exit poll claims
Bush won a staggering 74% of the Latino vote, higher
even than Bush`s non-Hispanic white share.
This seems awfully unlikely.
But if you add up the Hispanic
votes from these four states with broken-out shares for
Bush, you still see Bush supposedly winning 1.730
million out of 2.981 million Southern Hispanic
voters—only 58%. So what had to happen in the other ten
states to get him to 64% for the South as a whole?
There are two ways to estimate
this. The first is to simply subtract the four
broken-out states total from the South`s 14-state total
and assume the remainder is the result in the other 10
So, if Hispanics made up 9% of the
38.382 million voters in all 14 states of the South,
then there must be 0.474 million Latino voters in the
other ten states. And if Bush really carried 64% of
Hispanics overall in the South, then he must have won
0.480 million Hispanic votes in those other ten states.
That means he won 101% of these
states` Hispanic vote.
That seems a little … unlikely,
even for Karl Rove.
Yet when you use the second and
more reliable method for estimating how many Hispanics
voted in the other ten states, the results get even more
Because the NEP reports Hispanic
share of turnout for each state, you can estimate how
many Hispanics voted in the other 10 Southern states:
only 0.253 million. Bush still needs to have garnered
0.480 million votes to make his regional total. So his
share of the Hispanic vote in the 10 hidden states was
I suspect this exceeds even Mr. Bush`s
[Numbers fans should
click here to see the Southern exit
Similarly, the exit poll claims
that in the West region, Bush took 39% of the Hispanic
vote. But in the eight broken-out states, which account
for something like 97% of all Hispanic voters in the
West, Bush only garnered 34%.
So for the unspecified states
(Alaska, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and Utah) to raise
Bush`s regional share from 34% to 39%, their Hispanics
would have had to cast about 167% of their votes for
In the Midwest, the exit poll
purports that Bush won 0.489 million votes from 1.527
million Hispanics (32%). But in the four broken-out
states, he won only 0.216 million out of 0.735 million
(29%). So Bush would have had to capture 0.273 million
in the unspecified states. The exit poll reports that
there were just 0.222 million Hispanic voters in those
other states. So Bush must have won a 123% share of
In the East, the situation isn`t
quite so preposterous. The exit poll reports that
Bush won 28% in the whole region, and that`s what he won
in the reported states. However, to make his supposed
regional total of votes would still require him to win
95% of the Hispanics in the unreported Eastern states.
Let`s make two assumptions that are
- First, that Bush only achieved
the same Hispanic share in the unspecified states of a
region as in the broken-out states.
- Second, that instead of winning
59% of Latinos in Texas, he really captured only, say,
47%—still a healthy 4-point bump up over 2000.
That would put his Hispanic share
at 38% to 39%, up 3 or 4 points from 2000, compared to
his white share of 58%, which was up 4 points.
Historically, the gap between the
white share and the Hispanic share stays relatively
stable—and 2004 does not look like too much of an
My conclusion: Bush scored at the
high end of the GOP range for Hispanics—but he`s not
really broken the mold.
Moral for Congressional
Republicans: don`t ease your skepticism toward Bush`s
immigration proposals because you think you`ll get
[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and