How Did Hispanics Vote?
Mon November 20, 2006 10:52 am

The experts on Hispanic voting in Texas, the nonpartisan Willie Velasquez Institute in San Antonio, reported this breakdown for Hispanics in the governor's race:

Bell 39.6%
Strayhorn 28.6%
Friedman 14.3%
Perry 13.9%
Other 3.6%

The Velasquez Institute based its findings on exit polls of 440 respondents conducted in 32 selected precincts across the state.

As much as I respect the Velasquez Institute's work over the years, I don't believe these numbers. Perry campaigned hard in the Valley. He had the support of a number of (presumably) Democratic mayors--mayor being a nonpartisan office in this state. Democratic sheriffs appeared on his TV commercials. One of the few major pre-election polls that released its cross-tabs showed Perry with 42% of the Hispanic vote.

At the same time that Perry was getting, supposedly, 13.9% of the Hispanic vote, the Velasquez Institute exit polls produced these results in the Senate race:

Hutchison 53.7%
Radnofsky 35.6%
Others 10.7%

So Hutchison ran FORTY points better than Perry among Hispanics? I don't believe it.

Mike Baselice, Perry's pollster, sent me the CNN/AP exit poll data for Texas. It was based on 2,090 respondents statewide. Here is what it showed:

Bell 41%
Perry 31%
Strayhorn 18%
Friedman 9%

This looks much more like it.

Is there any way to explain the discrepancy between WVI and CNN/AP? The only thing I can think of is that the precinct selection by WVI is somehow off the mark. If WVI is only looking at barrio precincts--a criticism that was raised in 04 when WVI had to raise its original lowball estimate of Hispanic support for Bush--then the Institute is missing the movement of more-affluent Hispanics to the suburbs. And those voters are more likely to vote for Perry than residents of urban neighborhoods.

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...

Most Read

  • Viewed
  • Past:
  • 1 week