Equally Dubious of @CNN Exit Polls Showing 16% GOP voters were Hispanic

Again, the math doesn’t add up.  CNN’s exit poll of Florida voters reports that 16% self-reported Republicans who voted in the Florida PPP as being “latino” [sic].

We know that prior to Election Day, of the more than 1.2m registered Republicans who had already voted, more than 86% self-identified as “white” when they registered to vote.  Only 10.3% marked on their voter registration cards that they were “Hispanic.”

It’s stretches the imagination, then, that one in five of the 1.16m Republicans who voted on Election Day (some 254k) were Hispanic voters.  Sure, some 192k Republican Hispanics didn’t vote early in Miami-Dade, but chances are, a few of them also stayed home on Election Day.  Indeed, there were less than 400k Republican Hispanics statewide who had yet to vote on Election Day.  Nearly every one of them would have had to have voted on Election Day in order for the CNN exit poll figure for Hispanic turnout to map out.

With such dubious baseline figures, I’d throw caution to the wind for anyone digging any deeper into the CNN exit poll crosstabs in Florida.  One wonders how far off the exit polls are in the other states that have had primaries?

Exclusive Pre-Election Day Hispanic Republican Votes Cast by Florida Counties

Here are the total ballots cast by Republican Hispanics and the percentages of registered Republican Hispanic voters who cast ballots, as of the start of Election Day voting this morning. I’ve sorted by the top 10 counties in terms of percentages. Not surprisingly, Miami-Dade (DAD), has the highest overall vote total and percentage of Republican Hispanic turnout, perhaps an indication of Marco Rubio’s pull in his home county.  We’ll see later tonight what the tally is for late arriving absentee ballots as well as Election Day voting.

County Hispanic Republican votes cast Tot Registered Hispanic Republicans % Republican Hispanic Turnout
DAD 80,284 274,474 29.3%
BRE 1,190 5,741 20.7%
CLL 1,208 5,924 20.4%
PIN 1,228 6,075 20.2%
LEE 1,647 8,514 19.3%
SEM 1,436 7,530 19.1%
HIL 4,671 25,077 18.6%
BRO 8,776 48,906 17.9%
ORA 4,471 26,878 16.6%
OSC 1,740 10,885 16.0%

 

EXCLUSIVE: 2012 Exit Polls Overinflate Latino Voter Participation in Florida

My colleague, Michael Herron at Dartmouth, and I have just finished crunching the 2012 General Election statewide voter file.

We’ll have lots to report in the coming days about the racial and ethnic voter participation in the November election, including statewide and county breakdowns for early voting and absentee voting. We’ll also have some data to report on the rejection rates of provisional ballots and absentee ballots  across racial and ethnic groups.

But for now, one item that caught my eye this morning was the considerable inflation of supposed Latino voter participation in the 2012 General Election.

According to the 2012 CNN General Election Exit Polls for Florida, (a screen shot is here: Florida2012ExitPoll), Florida’s electorate was:

67% White

13% African American

17% Latino

Further analysis of the Florida exit polls conducted by the Pew Research Hispanic Center immediately after the election, “Latino Voters in the 2012 Election,” found that “Hispanics made up a growing share of voters in three of the key battleground states in yesterday’s election.” According to the report, “Hispanics made up 17% of the Florida electorate this year, up from 14% in 2008.”  The Pew Report continued:

The state’s growing non-Cuban population—especially growth in the Puerto Rican population in central Florida—contributed to the president’s improved showing among Hispanic voters. This year, according to the Florida exit poll, 34% of Hispanic voters were Cuban while 57% were non-Cuban. Among Cuban voters, the vote was split—49% supported Obama while 47% supported Romney. Among the state’s non-Cuban voters, Obama won 66% versus 34% for Romney.

Yet, when matched against the Florida Division of Election’s December 31, 2012 voter file, our analysis suggests that the 2012 exit poll estimates considerably over-inflate the actual Latino makeup Florida’s 2012 electorate.

In 2012, roughly 8.43 million Floridians cast ballots in the General Election.

According to our analysis of the state’s voter history file, a little more than 1 million citizens who self-identified on their voter registration cards as Latino voted in the 2012 election.  That’s only 12.5% of Florida’s 2012 electorate.

In contrast, nearly 14% of Florida’s 2012 actual electorate was African American, close to a full percentage point greater than the exit poll estimates.  White voters were similarly under-represented in the exit poll estimates, as slightly more than 68% of Florida’s 2012 electorate was white.  (Incidentally, Floridians who voted in the 2012 General Election and who identified as “Other” or “Multi-racial” on their voter registration cards tallied less than 2% of the vote in 2012.)

For now, I will leave it for others to interrogate why the 2012 Exit Polls considerably over-inflated Latino turnout in Florida, but I have some suspicions that I will offer down the road as time permits.