The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, July 11, 2005

Hispanic electorate poll - one or two puzzles

The survey (PDF) of likely Hispanic voters, taken in the first fortnight of June, comes from James Carville's Democracy Corps. It's well worth a squint.

For instance (Q10), given a list of alternatives, respondents were asked to characterise their ethnicity; the largest group by far (53%) said Mexican. The next largest (14%) said Spanish.

The US Census short report on the Hispanic population in 2002 has a chart (p1) showing 67% of the population as of Mexican origin [1]. And it doesn't have a classification of Spanish [2].

Clearly, not many of the 14% come from peninsular Spain. And it's odd given the polemic around the use of the word Hispanic - which is supposed to sound too much like Spain by the grievance grinders who push the point.

The language issue is also interesting: by 79-21, respondents were happier speaking in English (Q2). Only 9% spoke only Spanish at home, against 26% who spoke only English (Q11). Though only 5% watched only Spanish TV against 37% who watched only English (Q12).

The question begged is, What sort of Spanish? On February 6, I mentioned a thesis that looked at the experience of Mexican-Americans who attended a Spanish heritage course at a Mexican university. The greatest difficulty they faced was an inability to communicate in Spanish.

On the politics, Bush's fav/unfav (Q14) is 42-54; Democracy Corps main polling report has a fav/unfav of 48-50 (Q9).

Sounds pretty good, all told, given that, according to the (rather controversial!) exit poll, Bush scored 44-56 among Hispanics - the survey respondents said they voted 37-58 (Q78).

Even better news for the Dems, though; on the warm/cold feelings question (Q15), the parties rated D:60.1-R:47.8. The Bush-Kerry margin is less impressive - 49.0-52.8 - but these numbers don't come with confidence intervals [3].

And the Congressional intentions are even more striking: 57-26, they said they would vote for the D if the election were today. As were party identifications (Q117) - a similar split.

On social issues, they are suprisingly liberal on abortion (Q83) with a majority supporting it in all (13%) or most (38%) cases; and 40% say homosexuality should be accepted by society (Q75).

  1. It's eminently plausible that more residents of Mexican origin are ineligible and fewer Mexican eligibles are likely voters than those from other Hispanic segments. (Though some sort of reconciliation between the two percentages would be nice.)

  2. Other Hispanic on the Census chart is 6.5%.

  3. The warmest of the pols and parties mentioned is Bill Clinton at 64.2%. He'd be into his fourth term now if it wasn't for that pesky 22nd Amendment! (The general poll warm/cold question (Q15) doesn't ask about Clinton.)

    Kerry has more to squirm about: when asked to pick among various reasons why he lost, the top answer was Not clear on what he stood for from 39%; and the third answer, No plans or ideas on what he would do, from 21%, is downright bizarre. WS Gilbert's Major-General had fewer ideas!

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