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Texas going blue? Not so fast, pardner…

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Politics Digest

As the Washington Examiner notes in today’s main editorial, the national media saw fit not to conduct exit poll surveys in the state of Texas after this election, costing political wonks and campaign hacks valuable demographic data on the Lone Star State.

That matters because newly-minted Republican Senator Ted Cruz is now echoing the warning of liberals like ex-Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean that Texas may soon go blue if the GOP doesn’t find a way to appeal to the nation’s growing Hispanic population, of which Texas has a considerable portion.

However one local pollster, Austin-based Mark Baselice, is touting some data in that regard. He told the Texas Tribune:

While Romney and Cruz got lopsided support from white voters, as the presidential ticket did nationally, pre-election surveys by Mike Baselice suggest Romney did 12 to 15 percentage points better with Hispanics in Texas than in California. Obama’s big share of the Latino vote in California more closely mirrors his performance in battleground states.

After comparing surveys from California and Texas, Baselice also said Hispanics self-identify as moderate and conservative at significantly higher rates in Texas. In California, 37 percent of Hispanics call themselves conservative, 30 percent say they’re moderate and 33 percent embrace the liberal label.

In Texas, 46 percent of Hispanics say they are conservative, 36 percent are moderate and 18 percent say they are liberal, Baselice said.

California exit polls gave Romney 27 percent of the Latino vote, about what he got nationally. If Baselice is correct, that means Romney got between 39-42 percent of the Latino vote in Texas. That’s badly down from President Bush’s 49 percent of the Latino vote in 2004. It is up from the 35 percent share of the Latino vote McCain got in Texas in 2008 though, suggesting the GOP is not tumbling off a cliff with that group in the state. At least not yet.

In both 2004 and 2008, the Latino share of the vote in Texas was 20 percent. I couldn’t find any data on the Latino share of the electorate in 2012. Presumably it has grown, though without exit polls it is hard to say.

“Hispanics vote more Republican in Texas than they seem to do elsewhere. We have a long history of that,” Baselice said. “It’s a more conservative state. People are raised in a different environment and exposed to different things here.”

Baselice’s numbers are extrapolated from a pre-election survey of 851 voters in October, he told the Examiner. So they are just guesstimates. Still, it’s all we’ve got for the state.

None of which is to suggest that the state Hispanic’s vote won’t start following national trends and start voting more Democratic in the future. How down the trail that is is anybody’s guess.

 

 

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