Friday, October 26, 2012

Running The Numbers

Bird Dog at Maggie's, in his Friday morning links, had an article about the racial divide in our presidential voting.  I won't tip my hand just yet, but I smell a slant in the numbers the way this is presented.  Read the article, and without doing any calculations, estimate what percentage of Hispanics vote for the Republican candidate.  Jot it down.

Because of the number 80% nonwhite, in the text and in the graph, I did think 80% for an instant, but then remembered oh, it's got to be less, because the black vote pulls that up to 80.  So in the 70's.  No, the low 70's.  Wait, if there's the same number of Hispanics and blacks, then it would be 65%.  Is it the same number?  And what about Asian-Americans and Native Americans?  I'd better look this up and scratch down numbers.

Until I went into the long correction cycle, the article smuggled in the idea that almost 80% of Hispanics were for Obama.  That feeds the general idea that Republicans, particularly rich Wall Street types like Romney, don't care about Hispanics, who are offended and don't vote for them.  Which is what I suspect the writers and most readers of the Washington Post think.  That's my stereotype, anyway.  Could be wrong.

But let's run the numbers...95% of African Americans, who were 12.1% of the voters in 2008...Asian Americans, hard to find, but 2.4% of the voters and they break 3-1 for Dems (76-23)...Native Americans, even smaller and harder to figure, but seem to be 1.1% and go 9-1 for that works out to - golly, that means Hispanics vote for Obama at the rate of 59-40.  Heck, one of the repeated points of the article was that the white vote, though 60-37 for Romney, wasn't that dramatic in a lot of places and groups, such as among women or in certain states.

My, my, my, here's the Hispanic vote being the closest to evenly divided of all the racial/ethnic groups.  You would never have thought that from reading the article, would you?


Donna B. said...

My guess was at least a 1/3 of Hispanics (nationwide) go R over D. Of course, I've lived much of my life in the southwest or south and I based the number on experience more than on statistical literacy.

As with Asian Americans, it would also be misleading to lump Hispanics together as if they were as homogenous as the article did with "non-whites". Black Americans are a much more culturally homogenous group. Black Americans are the only cultural group I can think of that is also nearly politically homogenous.

bs king said...

The only other factor that could effect this would be a change in the percentage of voters each group makes up. It will be interesting to see if the percentages from 2008 hold up, or if we have more/less minority turnout.

The chart said it was of "likely voters" so if these percentages have shifted dramatically it could throw your math off.

Sam L. said...

It's the WaPo. Why I should trust them is answered I Don't Think So.

Don't forget, NYT says there are white Hispanics. Are Portuguese counted as Hispanic? I've read that Hispanics think of themselves as their country of origin, like Germans, French, Chechs, Poles, etc. More of an amorphous collection.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Hispanic is entirely self-defined in terms of census. If you say you are Hispanic, you are, and if not, you're not.

Sam L. said...

I'll have to think on that awhile, Mr. Sippi. Maybe I'm one, too.

Mr Tall said...

The fact I find most startling is that so many Asian-Americans vote Dem. Given they ways in which they get shafted in the Great Diversity Game, they are arguably the group most dedicated to voting against their self-interest.