National Polls Underestimate Latino Voters

National polls are underestimating the effect of the Latino vote, according to the New York Time’s polling specialist, Nate Silver, and it could lead to polling predictions being way off the mark.
Silver said it “may be because many polling firms that conduct interviews only in English miss some Hispanic voters who are more comfortable speaking Spanish.”  He also added that, because primarily Spanish-speaking Hispanic voters are more likely to vote Democratic than those who have more English fluency, polls that under-count Hispanic voters are more likely to mistakenly project in favor of Republicans, according to a recent blog post.
The blog’s author, Professor Matt Barreto, was recently at George Mason University in Arlington, northern Virginia, to speak about new polling of Latino voters.  Barreto said that “pollsters have not been keeping up with the growth of the Latino market, especially the immigrant and Spanish-speaking market.”
Because many pollsters don’t poll primary Spanish speakers, 40% of the Latino community is excluded from traditional polling, he said. This error in data collection was one reason pollsters were wrong about the 2010 Nevada Senate race, when many believed Sharron Angle would win because they weren’t counting enough Latino voters. Angle lost.
Barreto said Senate races in Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Virginia might be “this year’s Nevada.”
 

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