November 4, 2010

THE GOP WILL WIN THE WEST WHEN IT STOPS HATING ON BROWNS:

Did Polls Underestimate Democrats’ Latino Vote? (NATE SILVER, 11/03/10, NY Times)

There is another theory, however, which was proposed to me last night by Matt Barreto of the polling firm Latino Decisions.

“There is one overarching reason why the polls were wrong in Nevada,” Mr. Barreto wrote in an e-mail to FiveThirtyEight. “The Latino vote.”

His firm, which conducts interviews in both English and Spanish, had found that Latino voters — somewhat against the conventional wisdom — were relatively engaged by this election and for the most part were going to vote Democratic. Mr. Barreto also found that Latino voters who prefer to speak Spanish — about 40 percent of Latino voters in California meet this description, he told me — are particularly likely to vote Democratic. Pollsters who don’t conducted bilingual interviewing at all, or who make it cumbersome for the respondent to take the poll in Spanish, may be missing these voters.

Mr. Barreto had noted to me earlier this year that he felt polls might be overestimating support for Republican candidates in California. Indeed, the polls in that state called the right winners — Democrats Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer — but underestimated their eventual margin of victories.

Colorado, the other state where most polls picked the wrong winner, is also a state with a fairly heavy Latino population.

As a back-of-the-envelope test of Mr. Barreto’s theory, I compiled results from the eight states with the largest share of Latinos in their population: these are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, New York and Texas. There were 15 gubernatorial and Senate races last night between these states.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at November 4, 2010 5:40 AM
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