Obama Crushing McCain Among Hispanic Voters
by Jonathan Singer, Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 03:39:23 AM EDT
Remember how George W. Bush was going to reshape the electorate by bringing Hispanic voters into the Republican Party, and how John McCain was going to continue the Bush legacy in this regard? Remember how the fact that Hillary Clinton bested Barack Obama among Hispanics during the Democratic primaries augured poorly for Obama's chances among the demographic during the general? Well apparently it's just not the case.
Hispanic registered voters support Democrat Barack Obama for president over Republican John McCain by 66% to 23%, according to a nationwide survey of 2,015 Latinos conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, from June 9 through July 13, 2008.
Obama is rated favorably by 76% of Latino registered voters, making him much more popular among that voting group than McCain (44% favorable) and President Bush (27% favorable). Hillary Clinton's ratings among Latino registered voters are 73% favorable and 24% unfavorable; Obama's are 76% favorable and 17% unfavorable.
Also, more than three-quarters of Latinos who reported that they voted for Clinton in the primaries now say they are inclined to vote for Obama in the fall election, while just 8% say they are inclined to vote for McCain. That means that Obama is doing better among Hispanics who supported Clinton than he is among non-Hispanic white Clinton supporters, 70% of whom now say they have transferred their allegiance to Obama while 18% say they plan to vote for McCain, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.
This is a remarkably poor performance for McCain, one that seriously threatens his ability to win this fall. In 2004, George W. Bush received at least 40 percent (.pdf), and perhaps even as much as 44 percent, of the Hispanic vote. Even in 2006, when the Republicans (particularly in the House) were running a strongly anti-immigrant campaign, the GOP still pulled in about 30 percent of the Hispanic vote. But John McCain, a candidate assumed at the outset of this race to have particular strength among Hispanics? McCain has roughly half the support of George W. Bush among Hispanic voters and even a quarter less support within the community than Republicans received in 2006.
And in case you don't think these numbers matter, think again. Just look at McCain's home state of Arizona -- where McCain has been forced to campaign. If McCain were only able to manage 22 percent of the Hispanic vote in Arizona, just doing the math he'd have to pull in about 63 percent of the White, Asian-American and "other" vote in the state to reach the 50 percent marker (Jon Kyl received about 55 percent of the White vote in his 10-point reelection victory in 2006, for reference). Even if McCain only needed to hit the 48 percentage point mark to win because of third party participation, he would still need to get over 60 percent of the non-Hispanic and non-African-American vote in order to hit such a plurality. Let's say that mark is just 45 percent. McCain would still need to get 56.4 percent of the White/Asian-American/"other" vote -- again, above Kyl's performance in 2006.
This is just one state, Arizona, a state that McCain should win. Now extrapolate these numbers across the country, particularly in other states with large Hispanic voting blocs, and you see McCain's immense problem. If the 22 percent mark were to hold in a state like Texas, and Obama were to receive a respectable though not shockingly high 90 percent of the African-American vote, McCain would need to pull in close to 60 percent of the remaining vote to earn a majority of the overall vote. Even if McCain were just shooting for a 48 percent plurality, he'd still need 57 percent of the vote outside of the Hispanic and African-American communities.
I'm just playing with numbers based on the 2006 exit polling, and you can shift the turnout in one direction or the other, or the percentage share of the African-American vote received by Obama up or down. Nevertheless, it's fairly clear that McCain would have difficulty earning 200 electoral votes, let alone 270, were he to receive just 22 percent of the Hispanic vote this year.