Gallup Poll: Half Latinos Are independent voters, For Now
The big news this week for those handicapping the Presidential horse race came from the recent Gallup poll that measured political identity among Latinos. It matters among the handicappers because they place a lot of importance on Latino voters, especially among those Latinos who call themselves independent voters.
I know, there’s enough gray area in that idea to build dozens of plausible scenarios: self identification is totally subjective; independent as compared to what?; where do these self-id’d independent voters live and vote? Still, it’s worth a notice.
According to Gallup:
A majority of U.S. Hispanics identify as political independents (51%) rather than as Democrats (32%) or Republicans (11%). However, once their partisan leanings are taken into account, most Hispanics affiliate with the Democratic Party (52%) rather than the Republican Party (23%). Both sets of numbers shift more decisively in the Democrats’ favor among the roughly half of U.S. Hispanics who are registered to vote.
So these are independent Latino voters, with partisan leanings.
And they say it with a straight face, as if it’s a naturally occurring thing in the political wild. They use empirical, non-lying numbers, to paint a fuzzy picture of self identifying traits, with leanings. Somewhere in there is an accurate definition of the Latino community. These Gallup folks just stumbled on it.
Here’s what they tell us: Latinos are half independent, mostly. But those mostly indies tend to be Democrats, kinda. At least that’s what they say.
So now the handicappers will take that information and place their bets specifically looking at swing state Latino voters. Good luck.
An yet we know from election after election that Latinos will vote in their majority for the Democratic candidate. That’s the problem with polls. Before the actual race every horse has a chance at winning and if you’ve got money 0n a pony you’re hoping yours wins. But if someone asks for your opinion four months before the bell you consider your options.
The fact that half of the polled Latinos call themselves independent means that they’re keeping their options open. The fact that they lean Democratic means that they’ll probably do what they’ve done before, unless they see a better option. So far though, given the recent upswing in Obama favoritism among Latinos, the bets may be off.
[Photo By Rob Boudon]