Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The New Mexico Hispanic Vote in 2008: Do we know what happened with turnout?

According to a report based on exit polls taken on election day, released by the Pew Hispanic Center ("The Hispanic Vote in the 2008 Election"), 41 percent of those who voted in New Mexico on election day were Hispanic. Similar exit polls in 2004 showed Hispanics in New Mexico comprised only 32 percent of the electorate. Since the proportion of Hispanics in New Mexico grew only very slightly during the past four years, at first glance it might appear that Hispanic turnout rates in 2008 were significantly higher than Anglo turnout rates in New Mexico.

On second glance, however, it could be that since New Mexico has early voting, Anglo voters disproportionately voted early, compared to Hispanics, leaving a higher proportion of Hispanics to vote on election day. Exit polling on election day would therefore overestimate the Hispanic vote proportions.

According to the same study, 69 percent of New Mexico Hispanics voted for Obama, compared to the U.S. average of 67%. Even in Florida, a majority of Hispanic voters (57 percent, many of whom are Cuban-American or Latin American) voted for Obama, a major change from 2004, when Florida Hispanics voted 44 percent for Kerry. The highest proportion of votes for Obama among Hispanics was in New Jersey, at 78 percent, followed by Nevada, at 76 percent, and California, at 74 percent.

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