11/12/2012

Should we threat the exit polls on how Hispanics voted with skepticism?

Exit polls show that Obama got 71 percent of the Hispanic vote.  But there is a big potential problem with that claim.  Namely a very conservative state with a Republican Hispanic running for the US Senate not being included in the exit polling.
Although there was a clear budgetary rationale for omitting Texas from exit polling, it is a far more serious omission. Texas has one of the nation's largest Hispanic populations. It is one of the few states where Republicans have had some success in courting Hispanics, winning as much as 49 percent of their votes in 2004. Have all of those efforts fallen apart in the Obama era? Were Texas Hispanics as sour on Mitt Romney this time as Hispanics in other states? Did they swing further in Obama's direction, as they did in Colorado, or a bit away from him, as they did in Nevada and California? And how did these voters -- mostly Mexican by ancestry -- feel about Cruz, a Cuban-American who speaks with a Texas twang? . . .
Let me give you an example of the problem here.  The 19 states that were left out of the exit polling were states that tended to very strong Republican states, not just Texas.  One of the questions included in these exit polls every eight years is whether people own guns (1988, 1996, 2004 and now it should have been in there for 2012).  If you tend to leave out heavily Republican states, do you think that it might bias you poll on the rate that people own guns?  Sure, Democrats do own guns, but at a lower rate than Republicans and where Democrats own guns at the highest rates tend to be in heavily Republican states.

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