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Southwestern Hispanics Lean Strongly Democratic

On May 17, I mentioned the state-level polls of Hispanic LVs done by the New Democrat Network and allowed as how the full results would be released shortly.

Well, they fooled me. NDN never did post the full results on their website--hopefully, they'll get around to doing that at some point--but I did manage to secure a copy of the topline results and can now provide a bit more detail on these polls.

In that earlier post, I mentioned that:

While [Kerry] is behind among Florida Hispanics, apparently because of overwhelming suppport for Bush among Cuban-American Hispanics, in the southwestern states of Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada, Kerry's looking very strong. Among Nevada Hispanics, Kerry is ahead of Bush 58-31, a 27 point lead that is quite close to Gore's 31 point lead in 2000. And Kerry is ahead by 59-30 among Arizona Hispanics, a 29 point lead that is closely approximates Gore's 2000 margin in that state (also 31 points). Finally, in New Mexico, Kerry is ahead by an overwhelming 64-25; that 39 point lead is actually a bit larger than Gore's very healthy 34 point lead in 2000.

Here's the backstory to those strong Kerry leads among Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico Hispanics. Since the stories are pretty similar in the three states, I'll provide data for all three states in uniform AZ, NV, NM order as I go through the findings.

Start with favorability ratings. Southwestern Hispanic voters are net negative on Bush (42 favorable/53 unfavorable, 41/54, 40/52), but quite positive about on Kerry (52/28, 50/27, 55/26). And they are very positive about the Democratic party (71/18, 62/22, 72/19), but tepid-to-negative about the Republican party (48/43, 35/51, 37/44). Note also that the Democrats have huge advantages in party ID in all three states (by 51, 34 and 51 points, respectively).

Turning to Bush's approval ratings, they are poor to abysmal in all areas tested by NDN. (Note: these job ratings are not done in standard approve/disapprove format, but rather by giving respondents four choices: excellent, good, mediocre, poor, similar to the way Zogby does job ratings. "Excellent" and "good" are combined here to give Bush's positive rating in the different areas.)

Bush's overall job ratings are generally poor (37, 39, 40). His ratings on "upholding moral values" are better (43, 49, 46). But the rest of his ratings are substantially more negative than his overall job rating: keeping his promises to the Hispanic/Latino community (22, 26, 25); creating jobs (29, 34, 30); improving the quality of public schools (28, 32, 30); improving access to affordable health care (35, 30, 39); dealing with the immigration issue (27, 25, 34); protecting Social Security and Medicare (29, 33, 34); and funding social services for the elderly (30, 34, 39).

Turning to party images, the Democratic party is strongly favored over the Repoublican party in all areas tested by NDN save fighting terrorism the most effectively and helping businesses the most. These area where Democrats are favored include: helping you and your family live a better life (+36, +35, +35); upholding moral values best (18, 15, 23); being committed to public education (42, 25, 37); creating a large number of new jobs (41, 24, 41); helping working families the most (61, 37, 51); supporting universal health care (30, 42, 42); and doing a better job on immigration issues (10, 26, 15).

These states all look like they're going to be close. Based on these data, the key to taking these states for Kerry would seem to lie in ensuring a high level of Hispanic mobilization and turnout in November.

Comments

As a Hispanic/Latino voter (though not in the south) I can attest that Latinos are quite aware that Bush is a Fucking Liar.

Now that's what I call refreshingly straight to the point!!

Eldon

When thinking about Latino/Mexican American voters in the American Southwest, I think keeping an eye on history is especially instructive. The last time a Catholic U.S. Senator from Massachusetts ran for President, it is a little known fact that Mexican Americans made an incredible difference in that close election. The year was 1960 and the JFK-LBJ Democratic ticket won a squeaker partly on close margins of victory in Texas and New Mexico. TX and NM, along with IL, provided the electoral vote difference between JFK and Nixon that year. During that election Mexican Americans participated in electoral politics at a level not yet seen in this nation through "Viva Kennedy" clubs that, according to historian Ignacio Garcia, trained a whole generation of young activists and shaped Mexican American politics for a generation.

Though Democrats usually have an advantage against Republicans on national polls of Southwestern Latinos, the margin of difference seems much larger now than when a Reagan or Bush I in the 1980s could split large chunks of that vote. Though Bush II rode a significant Tejano following in 2000 and conceeded the Mexican Americans of other Southwestern states, I'm not sure even that is especially likely in this election. As Ruy's analysis of the AZ, NM, NV numbers demonstrates, this is a fascinating election already! Apologies for the long message.

Ruy,

Can you compare overall population growth in these states with the growth in these states' hispanic population. Is one outstripping the other? Have new voters essentially been added to the Democratic tally?

Thanks

Carl,
The 2000 census showed that in the preceding 10 years the total number of Hispanics in Arizona nearly doubled, from 688,338 to 1,295,617, an increase of 607,279. White non-Hispanics were up only slightly more, from 2,626,185 to 3,274,258, an increase of 648,073. The result was that the total Arizona population in 2000 was 63.8% White non-Hispanic, 25.3% Hispanic, 4.5% Native American non-Hispanic, and 2.9% Black non-Hispanic. At that rate of growth since the April 1 ,2000 census date, it's very likely that a plurality or a majority of new population in Arizona since 2000 is Hispanic.
In Nevada the figures are as follows: Hispanics increased from 124,419 to 393,970 (a 217% increase). White non-Hispanics were up from 946,357 to 1,303,001 (up 38%, probably the biggest increase in White non-Hispanics of any state in the Union in that decade--in most states it's about 6 or 7 percent)). Total Nevada population in 2000 was 65.2% White non-Hispanic, 19.7% Hispanic, 6.6% Black non-Hispanic, 4.4% Asian. Again it seems likely that a plurality or majority of added population since April 1, 2000, is Hispanic.
In New Mexico, Hispanics were up from 579,224 to 765,386, a 32% increase. White non-Hispanics were up 6%. from 764,164 to 813,495. American Indians were up 26%, from 128,068 to 161,460. Total New Mexixco population in 2000 was 44.7% White non-Hispanic, 42.1% Hispanic, 8.9% American Indian, 1.7% Black non-Hispanic. We have almost certainly passed the point at which added Hispanic population exceeds added White non-Hispanic population since 2000 in New Mexico. There are very likely more Hispanics than white non-Hispanics in New Mexico today.
All of these figures are population, of course, not voters, eligible voters, or registered voters. But they certainly provide evidence of the scale of Hispanic migration to these three states.
According to the 2000 presidential exit polls, 10% of Arizona voters were Hispanic, and they broke 65-34 for Gore. In Nevada, Hispanics were 12%, and they went for Gore 64-33. And in New Mexico they were 32%, and broke 66-32 for Gore. White non-Hispanics in those states went for Bush 38-57 in Arizona, 40-55 in Nevada, and 37-58 in New Mexico.

The increase in Latino voters (Hispanic is virtually never used in the southwest) is why many people think Texas will again be a Democratic state within a few years.
It is why California has gone from a marginal Republican state to a strong Democratic state.

Sean, do not generalize about the entire SW. North-central NM is dominated by people whose ancestry there pre-dates the Mexican revolution and for whom, thus, a "Spain" related appellation is preferred—many actually prefer "Spanish". Activists, though, prefer "Latino", pretty much everywhere, I think.

Off track---

The new LA Times Poll has Democrats leading in the generic Congerssional poll 54-35, and leading among men 51-38. I don't recall any national poll in the last 20 years which had any Democrat over 50%.

Today's Rasmussen generic congressional poll is only 42-38, however. And reportedly the White House pollster, Matthew Dodd, is calling the networks in an attempt to spin the story and question the LA Times poll result.

The latest Democracy Corps congressional poll also has only a 1% Dem lead.