More Hispanic Voting Myths: Why the media’s emphasis on race and ethnicity is wrong

From Steven Malanga:

Many a postmortem of Mitt Romney’s defeat has focused on his poor showing among Hispanics and argued that Republicans won’t do better in national elections until they find a way to appeal to this growing voting bloc, especially by modifying the party’s stance on immigration. Yet these analyses often rely on faulty data that overstate the impact that Hispanic voters have on elections. They also typically ignore the fact that, as exit polls show, Latinos are almost certainly voting, like everyone else, on major issues—especially the economy—not on narrow ethnic lines. Latinos are just like other voters, history suggests: they’re more likely to vote for Republicans when the party puts forward a good candidate with broad appeal.


Also, there’s the stubborn fact that McCain and Romney did worse than Reagan and Bush among many other demographic groups, including traditionally strong Republican ones. Romney, for instance, won the vote among those who say they attend religious services regularly, but not by as wide a margin as Bush did. Once we have better data, the larger issue in the 2012 election may turn out to be a sharp decline in white voters, which cannot be explained merely by demographic shifts. It’s possible that 5 million or more eligible whites didn’t vote, perhaps because of a lack of enthusiasm for either candidate.

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