Tuesday, December 01, 2009

White and Hispanic voting compared at the state level

Commenting on the post suggesting that exit polling appears to systematically underrepresent Asians as well as whites, Steve Sailer expressed a desire for data on Asians in red states. Because of population size and concentration, Hawaii and California are the only two states for which they are currently available. Consequently, it is difficult to determine much about regional variations in Asian political outlook.

I wonder also about Hispanics. Do they parrot whites at the state level, albeit shifted 20 or so points to the left, or is it just in aggregate that Hispanics tend to differ from whites by a fairly consistent amount? That is, are Texas Hispanics considerably less leftist than California's are, or do Hispanics, like blacks, vote predictably irrespective of geography?

The following table shows the percentages of whites and Hispanics who voted for Obama in 2008. The third column displays his advantage among Hispanics relative to whites. Nationally, Obama did 24 points better among Hispanics than he did among whites:

New Jersey497829
New Mexico426927

Hard to say much definitively one way or the other. To answer one of the questions posed above, California's Hispanics are more inclined toward Democrats than Texas' are (74% to 63%). This is similar to the 2004 gap between the two states (63% to 50%, respectively). Yet Hispanics in Texas do not shift as far to the right as would be expected if they stayed parallel with whites. Even in a solidly white Republican state like Texas, Hispanics are left of center. In no state during the '08 election did a majority of Hispanics back McCain, the embodiment of open borders Republicanism (if Hispanics are natural GOPers save for immigration, of course, they should've flocked to McCain in droves).

But there are conservative white states like Indiana and Nevada where Hispanics vote more heavily Democratic than they do nationally. This isn't simply a case of the mortgage meltdown being especially severe in Nevada, either--the state's Hispanics voted more strongly for Kerry in '04 than Hispanics did nationally (they did so in Indiana as well). Also, Hispanics in Arizona--another "sand state" that suffered severely from the drop in residential real estate prices--came fairly close to splitting their presidential votes on account of having a 'native son' running on the Republican side. An identical 56% also voted for Bush in '04. Conversely, there are pretty liberal white states like Colorado and Michigan where Hispanics voted to the right of the national total.

This is not to say that Hispanics don't tend to trace white voters at a more localized level, just that the '08 Presidential election does not make it clear that they do. Even for states where data are available, the samples are small and there is not much history to compare it to.


Ron Guhname said...

Another fact contradicting the idea that Hispanics are natural GOPers: in a recent Gallup poll, Hispanics were more in favor of gay marriage than whites.

silly girl said...

Wow. It appears that if whites across the country voted like whites in Texas, Obama would not have been elected. It would be interesting to know what percent of Texas whites are registered Democrats.

The health care plan now in congress will increase the Medicaid ceiling to 150% of the poverty line. That will cost Texas $2.8 billion per year as an unfunded mandate and it will cost Pennsylvania $1.5 billion per year.

Audacious Epigone said...


I didn't see a link to the poll at Inductivist and can't seem to find it at Gallup. Any chance you have a link?

Silly Girl,

Registration numbers are usually not publicly available, but the 2008 exit poll in Texas shows 19% of voting whites self-identified as Democrats, compared to 46% as Republicans.

Phoenixism said...

Colorado would once again make Tom Tancredo proud.

Ron Guhname said...


My mistake. It's Pew:


The Undiscovered Jew said...

Arizona, Colorado and Texas have more long standing Hispanic populations a portion of whom can trace their ancestry back to some of the whiter Northern Mexican states. The other US states like New Jersey have more recent Hispanic immigrants.

Because Arizona, Colorado and Texas have older communities of Hispanics, those Hispanics may have more white admixture than the more recent Mexican and Central American immigrants.

Perhaps white admixture correlates with how Republican or Democrat leaning a Hispanic population will be?

When I was in Colorado, I noticed that the Hispanic Americans there seemed more Southern European in appearance than Hispanics in Georgie.

I wonder if this holds for Arizona and Texas.

Anthony said...

The two states with the lowest Hispanic vote for Obama are Arizona and Florida. Florida has Cubans, and while the younger generation isn't as hard-core anti-Castro as their elders, that gives the Republicans an advantage there. I'm not sure about Arizona, if, as you say, they voted for Bush in '04 at the same rate as they did for homeboy McCain. From what I know of the establishment of Hispanic communities, I'm not seeing anything which explains the results. Perhaps there's something economic - how do hispanics do economically relative to whites in each of those states?

Steve Sailer said...


Sample size issues probably inject a certain amount of randomness into the results in places like Indiana.

For Nevada, I think the high degree of unionization of service workers means Latinos are more channeled to vote left than in other states. Generally, a large Hispanic influx hurts union power by increasing the number of strikebreakers, but the Las Vegas casinos and hotels are such a goldmine that unions have held onto their power their, with SEIU being particularly strong.

Audacious Epigone said...


Interesting thought. I'd think if if that was the case, Hispanics in heavily Euro-Hispanic states would vote more closely to how the state's whites vote. That holds for Colorado (whose whites are as leftist as New England whites are) and Arizona, but not really for Texas.


A few years ago, I remember coming across data with state-by-state median income by race, but I've looked for it on multiple occasions more recently and haven't been able to find it. There is potentially a lot to do with that sort of information.

Audacious Epigone said...



Funny how no racial breakdown is provided for the question concerning whether or not gays face discrimination in society, given that it is for all the other items. My guess is blacks are far less likely to believe gays face discrimination than whites and Hispanics are, creating a lot of cognitive dissonance for SWPL leftist types. So it was hidden.