Press Release

The Latino Super Tuesday: Underneath the Numbers

For Immediate Release
February 7, 2008
Updated - 10:30a (PST)

Contact:
Steven A. Ochoa, Director of Voting Rights and Policy Research, (323) 222-2217, sochoa@wcvi.org

(Los Angeles, CA) The William C. Velasquez Institute analysis of exit poll numbers for Latino Voters in the Democratic Presidential races demonstrates a surprising amount of diversity among Latino Voters.

"Upon examination, while Latinos nationally supported Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Presidential Primary, their support varied from state to state," said Antonio Gonzalez, President of the William C. Velasquez Institute. "Latinos in California, New York, and New Jersey showed stronger support for Senator Clinton, compared to other states like Arizona, New Mexico, Illinois, and Connecticut."

However, WCVI also urges caution when examining the recently released Exit Poll information. As the most widely shared Exit Poll used by CNN and many other media outlets did not specifically target Latino voters, the estimated Latino respondents in many states prove to be relatively small. With smaller sample sizes come larger margins of error. Thus poll results from states such as California, New Mexico and Illinois paint more reliable pictures of the Latino Vote in those states than results from Connecticut, New Jersey, and Massachusetts which all seem to feature margins of error greater than 8%. The news outlets themselves also note that figures are preliminary.

This recent Exit Poll taken together with pre-election opinion polling shows that Senator Obama seemed to make inroads into the Latino Vote before Super Tuesday.

In California, Senator Obama's Latino Polling Data show a consistent rate until a few weeks before the election, with Senator Clinton enjoying Latino support by 3-to-1 margins. However, on Election Day, undecided California Latinos seemed to increase the percentages of Clinton and Obama equally. One could imply that Senator Obama and Senator Clinton seemed to split the remaining undecided voters evenly, a big improvement over the 3-to-1 margin of previously decided voters.

A possible explanation for these poll trends are a shift in campaign tactics by Senator Obama. During the final days of the Super Tuesday campaign, Senator Obama was campaigning for immigration issues, such as drivers licenses for undocumented people. This shift in campaign strategy seems to correlate with undecided Latinos voters choosing Senator Obama as their candidate of choice in the last week of the campaign. With a handful of state elections remaining with a sizable Latino Vote, most notably Texas, Antonio Gonzalez said, "Similar opportunities to earn Latino votes will present themselves to all candidates, where the 'California drivers' license issue' parallels the 'Texas border wall' issue among Latino voters."

How Do Latinos Vote?
Phone Poll, Exit Surveys & More
Phone Poll, Exit Surveys & More
Antonio Gonzalez On the Airwaves
Antonio Gonzalez On the Airwaves