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That is one question explored by Nate Silver in this post, which starts by exploring new polling data out of AZ that shows Obama marginally ahead.

In the post, Nate explains why he thinks that is unlikely, but then drills down more deeply, noting that the poll in question conducted bilingual polls.  He then writes:  

Polling firms such as Latino Decisions that have conducted interviews in Spanish have shown Mr. Obama with a larger advantage among Hispanic voters than those which interview in English only. The most recent Latino Decisions poll, for example, had Mr. Obama ahead 72-20 among Hispanic voters. This poll is not an outlier; other polling firms that have conducted Spanish-language interviews have found similar results.
He notes that some think this offset because those who speak only Spanish or who are inclined to prefer to speak Spanish are less like to vote.   Here I might disagree -  I have a brother-in-law who grew up speaking Spanish at home and not learning English until he began school, but his family has been in Northern New Mexico for several hundred years.  I also note that one can arrive in the states from Puerto Rico, know next to no English, and still be entitled to vote, because someone born in PR is a natural-born citizen.

But Nate to his credit goes further, as i will explain beneath the squiggle.

Nate acknowledges the possible difference that could be made if polls were understating the participation of Hispanics who prefer to be interviewed in Spanish.  He offers this:  

On Saturday, I ran an alternate version of the FiveThirtyEight simulation in which I assumed that Mr. Obama would in fact win Hispanic voters by 50 percentage points, his edge in the Latino Decisions poll, as opposed to the roughly 35-point margin he’s had on average in polls that were conducted in English only.
In many states that would not make a difference -  increasing Obama's share of Hispanic voters in TX adds only 3 points, not enough to change the state.

So far in AZ based on his modeling it would only increase Obama's chances of carrying the state from 4% to 8%.

But then consider this:  

However, the adjustment increased Mr. Obama’s win probability in Colorado to 57 percent from 44 percent, in Florida to 53 percent from 35 percent, and in Nevada to 77 percent from 62 percent. It even helped him slightly in Virginia, where about 5 percent of voters identified as Hispanic in 2008 exit polls.

Overall, Mr. Obama’s chances of winning the Electoral College rose to 69 percent from 63 percent.

Nate reminds people that the only two Senate races his model got wrong in 2010 were Nevada and Colorado, both states with relatively heavy Hispanic populations.

It worth adding to Nate's comments several observations

1.  There has been a major effort to register younger Hispanics this cycle

2.  While many in the Latino community are not happy with the administration on deportations to date, they are ecstatic with the executive order implementing parts of the Dream Act agenda, and they despite Republican positions on immigration not only because of Arizona's Show Me Your Papers law and Joe Arpaio, but because Mitt Romney and other Republicans are in their mind associated with this approach

3.  In both NC and VA, the proportion of the overall vote that will be Hispanic is going up - in Virginia it may reach 7% this time.

4.  In Florida a good portion of the increase in Hispanic voters comes from Puerto Ricans in the I-4 corridor.

For a variety of reasons I have argued for much of the past few months that the polls were likely to be somewhat understating Obama's support in some states precisely because of the Latino vote.

Then again, we will know some of this in about 3 1/2 weeks.  Except, given the lack of exit polling in for example TX, NY and CA because they are not considered in contention presidentially, yet among the three hold a substantial portion of the nation's Hispanic population, we may not be sure of the impact because we will not know what the actual proportion of the votes in those states are Hispanic.

Still, I commend Nate Silver for being willing to examine this topic and point out the possible difference that it could represent in what may be happening.

Originally posted to teacherken on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:15 PM PDT.

Also republished by LatinoKos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Exactly what I've been suspecting. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, litoralis, LOrion, SoCalLiberal

    Nate Silver's latest tweet says:

    Nate Silver ‏@fivethirtyeight
    If there's only a "normal" likely voter gap (helps GOP by ~2 points), Romney's in some trouble. Most polls show it larger, however.

    Not voting is NOT an option this time around.

    by AreDeutz on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:31:38 PM PDT

  •  a number of factors in the polls (10+ / 0-)

    Ken, remember how NV was off with the main pollsters by 8 points in the Angle/Reid election?  A Nevada politco, John Raqlston, thinks the same thing is happening in NV again, and I wonder how much of his analysis also applies to other heavily Latino states although a part of his conclusion is based on geographic breakdown:

    But my bottom line for now is: Remember 2010. Nearly every poll you saw showed that Angle was going to win -- as did Angle's internals. And she lost by nearly 6 points. Six points!

    The raw numbers this cycle are very similar in Clark County to what they were in 2008 -- about a 125,000-voter lead (it actually is going to be slightly larger this time.) The way it works is that the South makes up 70 percent of the vote, and if you don't take that into account in your poll, you won't show the kind of raw number lead that Democratic statewide candidates are likely to have (Obama's will be greater than Rep. Shelley Berkley's) that make Republican candidates chances less and less real.

    Despite what all of those polls say, Romney's path to victory in Nevada now is much more problematic than any Republican will acknowledge.

    Interesting article.

    Gandhi: "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. "

    by FoxfireTX on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:33:17 PM PDT

    •  am aware of what Ralston thinks (9+ / 0-)

      we were talking about it on the bus tour, believe it or not.  

      I have felt all along that NV & NH were going to be near impossible for Romney, albeit for different reasons

      there are local hispanic reasons in VA that contribute to making that state difficult for Romney -  Corey Steward in Prince William County made such an issue on immigration that it angered a lot of Latinos of whom there are increasing numbers in VA.

      Obama carried those there states and he has locked down the election even without OH -  if my math is correct that would be 270-268 for Obama.

      And I think he will win OH and IA and CO.

      I have said all along that I thought Obama's floor was 303 -  of the so-called battle ground states he would be most likely to lose NC and then Florida.  If both he is at 303.  If only NC he is at 332.  If he is carrying NC then I think he picks up 2nd CD in NB and is at 348, losing only IN from what he carried last time.

      I do not think AZ is out of reach.  And if national margin were in fact to approach the 7 points of last time a few other state MIGHT become possible.

      Right now I would comfortable feeling absolutely sure of 284 -  lose NC, FL and CO and that is the result.

      We still have two more debates.

      We could have a war in the Middle East because of the problems along the Turkish-Syrian border, and the increasing tensions between Russia and Turkey.

      Financial crisis in Europe is still possible.

      On the other hand, I would NOT be surprised if the unemployment figures that come out the Friday before the election show a drop below 7.5%, which might wipe out all other news.

      In the meantime, we keep working, right?

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:45:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  agreed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        litoralis, SoCalLiberal

        but most of those factors are things Obama can't control.  I assume you're referring to the Gallup UE number which has been holding at 7.3% this week.  Althought its sample size is very small compared to BLS it has been surprisingly accurate.  I was not surprised at the drop in the Sept report as Gallup had the UE below 8% for ten days before the release of the BLS numbers.

        And yes, everything now is GOTV until every poll has closed in every swing state on Nov 6!

        Gandhi: "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. "

        by FoxfireTX on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:52:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not just the stuff from Gallup (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but also the significant drop in 1st time unemployment gains reported earlier this week

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:54:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  As a Nevada resident (15+ / 0-)

    I remember that the local meme, especially in the wingnuts ranks, following the Reid vs. Angle Senate race turning out to be a Reid win was "oh, that Reid Machine".

    The Las Vegas Review Journal was, quite literally, trolling its own readers in its coverage of the race between Sharron Angle and Harry Reid. Right up until the election results came in. The polls? Well, they all cinched it for Sharron Angle, and they were a crowin' about the 'new era' in Nevada politics before that 'new era' never happened.

    Now, when something embarassing, like missing the final tally of a Senate race by 5-8 points in the opposite direction you were hyping while the whole nation is watching, happens you need trite and glib ASAP.  

    When Reid won, and the "somehow, the Democrat Party fixed the election through fraud and busing in union voters to 'pack the polls' (with, ahem, perfectly legit registered local voters) and screw us over" died down over the next 48 hours, the credit went to "the Reid Machine".

    Sharron Angle destroyed Sharron Angle by proudly embracing white power Republicanism in a state with a significant non-white demographic to consider, if my memory is correct, almost 9 out of 10 latino voters went for Reid and left the Crazy with no chance in hell of winning.

    In hindsight, hispanic voters really turned out, and in much larger numbers, than expected. That, and the polling didn't really take the latin vote fully into account even though they missed the wave.

    I wouldn't be shocked if that happened again here in 2012, or in Arizona especially.

    And I wouldn't be shocked if brown people joined black people as the next target for mass voter disenfranchisement and "voter fraud" allegations in 2014 and beyond.

    This seems to be the GOP's only answer to their racist bullshit not flying the same way in a majority minority America.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:34:17 PM PDT

  •  Our big challenge with Latino Hispanic voters (5+ / 0-)

    is participation rates. Only about half of Hispanics qualified to vote actually do so.  If we could figure how to over come this challenge and get participation rates up to 70%, and young people as well, we would be in the clear in NV, and CO, taking AZ, and maybe even contesting TX.


    Some of our trouble in the polls the last couple of weeks, is apparently due to surging GOP enthusiasm and the consequent impact on the likely voter screens, and apparently a notable drop in Democratic plans for voting, not shown on this plots.


    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:47:31 PM PDT

  •  Oops, these are the two plots I wanted to show. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exterris, Ignacio Magaloni

    Sorry, I'm watching the rerun marathon of Walking Dead, so got distracted.

    Notice we could add around 5 million voters to our side if we could figure out how to get Hispanic voter participation rates up to the mid sixties from 50%.  Same with young people in the 18 to 34 traunch.



    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:54:36 PM PDT

  •  Definetly in Nevada. That is why I feel confident (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exterris, jennyp

    Obama will win this state even with the strong Mormon vote that Romney will pull in.

  •  Nationally I Don't Like Talking Up Dem Strength (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    because of all the voter suppression and the Citizens United final air war which is just getting started. This is our first CU Presidential election and it's yet to be seen how it plays out.

    But the Latino vote is a state phenomenon and I think this is a hopeful trend --if as everyone says we can get them out to the polls.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 06:38:30 PM PDT

  •  I read Nate's take on that and did some math. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ignacio Magaloni

    He lists 5 recent Colorado polls. One had underrepresented Latinos in the sample by quite a bit (ARG). So I readjusted and it gave Obama  47 instead of 46 to Romney's 50%.

    In the others, 3 did not give the sample demographics and one had the correct % of Latinos as compared to the census.

    Of course I realize that the Spanish-speaking pollster issue is not addressed in this, but it would sure be nice to know if the demographics were representative in all of these polls.

    I started to look at demographics in sample sizes in other states. One poll (IIRC in Virginia) doubles the % of people over 65 in it's sample.

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