Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hispanic and white working-class voters



















Would someone explain why the national media goes on endlessly about the critical importance of the Latino vote? According to this 538 table, Hispanic might is really only felt in states that are clearly blue (ie., California) or clearly red (i.e., Texas). Very small percentages of voting Hispanics in 2008 were in swing states. Focusing on this year's key states, the share of all Hispanic voters was one percent in Nevada and North Carolina. It was two percent of all Hispanic voters in Ohio and Virginia. It was only three percent in Colorado. The share is large only in Florida, but the state is not filled with Mexican Americans demanding amnesty for their illegal co-ethnics. Plus, come hell or high water, Latinos vote 2-to-1 for Democrats, so they are not swing voters but part of the Democrat base.

I watch the polls very closely, and Romney is doing surprisingly well in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan (or more precisely, Obama is doing surprisingly badly, especially when one considers the auto bailout). All the Hispandering, in addition to pandering to homosexuals and women who want free birth control, seems to be causing a reaction among working-class whites in the Rust Belt. Blue-collar whites vote in much larger numbers than Latinos in swing states, but Big Media doesn't give a shit about them.


18 comments:

pat said...

I think your instincts are right and maybe your conclusion too. But I think the computation of a state's Hispanics as a percent of total Hispanics is not relevant.

For example the Hispanics in New York are only a small part of the nation's Hispanics but if the Democrats and Republicans are closely balanced there even a few Hispanics could be decisive.

Albertosaurus

Aeoli Pera said...

"Blue-collar whites vote in much larger numbers than Latinos in swing states, but Big Media doesn't give a shit about them."

I'd love to see a little more pandering on this front.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

All other things being equal, Colorado, where the Hispanic vote is a material relative to the overall number of voters, is the marginal state that determines who will win the Presidency this year. Florida, New Mexico and Nevada, in which the Hispanic vote is relevant, are also key swing states in 2012.

Also, from the point of view of a political campaign, the most important demographics are those whose vote, both in terms of turnout and partisan alignment, is hardest to predict. You don't win elections by directing your campaign money at voters who always vote and have a clear partisan perference, or at voters who never vote.

You target eligible voters who may or may not vote (by trying to get out the vote of people who are likely to vote for you, are less ethically suppressing the vote of people who are likely to vote against you), and voters whose partisan alignment is subject to change (with persausive ads, usually negative ones, and attractive policies).

Hispanic turnout is harder to predict than many demographics, making it relevant to campaigns, and the partisan alignment of Hispanic voters isn't as stable as many other demographics.

Are blue collar whites an important demographic with similar characteristics in many swing states? Absolutely (particularly blue collar whites who are Catholic rather than Evangelical Protestants, as Catholic partisan alignment is less firmly esablished). Reagan's legacy was his ability to win over blue collar union members (in part because Reagan himself was a former union boss). Clinton's legacy was his ability to win those blue collar union members back to the Democratic party.

Fortunately, political campaigns can and do multitask and consider every demographic that could influence the outcome relative to non-campaigning based on either turnout shifts or partisanship shifts that a campaign could precipitate.

Conventional wisdom is that blue collar whites are going to vote based on the state of the economy without paying much heed to campaigns or the media, and there is a fair amount of political science data to back up that assessment.

Anonymous said...

Hispanic turnout is harder to predict than many demographics, making it relevant to campaigns, and the partisan alignment of Hispanic voters isn't as stable as many other demographics.


It's easy to predict and extremely stable. The Hispanic vote tracks the white vote but shifted twenty points to the left. In a year when whites go heavy for Republicans, the GOP loses the Hispanic vote by "only" twenty points. In a year when the GOP does poorly among whites voters - 2008 is an example - it loses the Hispanic vote by thirty to forty points.

Anonymous said...

"Would someone explain why the national media goes on endless about the critical importance of the Latino vote?"

They're herding Republicans. The bigger the gap between Democrat pandering to hispanics and Repubican pandering to hispanics the bigger the bonus to Republicans among working class whites.

So the reasoning is there but inside-out.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

"It's easy to predict and extremely stable."

GWB and McCain received very different proportions of the Hispanic vote.

The Hispanic vote is also much less monolithicially on the side of a single political party than say, for example, the black vote, the atheist vote, or the Southern white vote.

Hispanic voter turnout, in general, is much lower than, for example, middle class whites, and varies much more, for example, between on year and off year elections. But, this leaves room for get out the vote campaigns to be more effective.

pat said...

Andrew is certainly right about Hispanics in Colorado but what, pray tell, is the atheist vote?

I looked up in Google "atheist voting bloc". There are a couple atheist political groups but there are also a number of articles bemoaning the fact that atheists don't have much political clout.

I was an atheist when I attended Catholic Military High School. I kept a low profile. I don't remember telling anyone that I didn't beleive in God until I was at least forty.

Non-belief is supposedly third behind only Christianity and Islam. My guess is that there are even more non-believers than that. It's not that they're afraid. It just doesn't do you any good to advertise. The public atheists are often just silly people.

What atheist vote?

Albertosaurus

Bob Arctor said...

Atheism third behind Christianity and Islam? Where in hell are you getting these stats? About 15-20% of Americans are nonbelievers, Muslims are less than one percent, and for what it's worth there's three times more Jews and slightly more Buddhists (and almost as many Hindus) than there are Muslims in America.

Anonymous said...

GWB and McCain received very different proportions of the Hispanic vote


GWB received 40%, McCain received 31%.

I personally would not call this a "very different" proportion but YMMV.


The Hispanic vote is also much less monolithicially on the side of a single political party than say, for example, the black vote, the atheist vote, or the Southern white vote.

The Hispanic vote is also much more monolithically on the side of a single political party than is the white Catholic vote. So what? Saying that Hispanics do not vote for the Democrats by a 98% to 2% margin as blacks do is true, and besides the point. Being less monolithic than the black vote does not make Hispanics a swing group. They vote Democratic every time, and by a significant margin.

Anonymous said...

Hispanic voter turnout, in general, is much lower than, for example, middle class whites, and varies much more, for example, between on year and off year elections. But, this leaves room for get out the vote campaigns to be more effective.


You mean it leaves room for the Democratic party get out the vote campaigns to be more effective.

Given that Hispanics can be counted on to vote Democrat by a two-to-one margin, it is only Democrats who have an incentive to get them out to vote.

Bob Arctor said...

McCain's share of the Hispanic vote fell by six points from Bush's 2004 share, from 38 to 32%, but his share of the overall vote also fell by six points, from 51 to 45%. Once again, the Hispanic vote closely tracks the overall vote, just 12-15 points lower.

pat said...

Atheism third behind Christianity and Islam? Where in hell are you getting these stats?

Obviously Google. That's a global figure. America has fewer. But everyone admits that non-belief is growing fast.

I'm a priest in the Universal Life Church - cost me a dollar. My buddy spent five bucks to become a bishop. We both think we are atheists but maybe not. Definitions can be tricky and Google articles can be wrong. My point is that non-beleif is a major sector of the population and it wasn't that way not so long ago.

Albertosaurus

Bob Arctor said...

Thanks for the clarification - mea culpa.

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Anonymous said...

"Reagan's legacy was his ability to win over blue collar union members (in part because Reagan himself was a former union boss). Clinton's legacy was his ability to win those blue collar union members back to the Democratic party."

This isn't true at all. This is one of the political myths that never dies.

The areas of the country dominated by blue collar union workers are counties where Mondale outperformed Obama. Working class people, relative to the national average, *hated* Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Reagan's success was in courting voters in relatively affluent suburbs, and Clinton succeeded by winning them back, at the expense of losing people in the midwestern suburbs.

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