Saturday, October 13, 2012

Will A Surging Latino Vote Turn Arizona Blue This Election?

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Many of you may recall that back in 2010, we predicted that the backlash created by the politics of anti-Latino bigotry practiced by Sharron Angle and her fellow Republicans was going to create a tsunami of Latino voters who would sweep Sen. Harry Reid to re-election in Nevada. And then it happened exactly that way.

Now, according to Latino Decisions, a similar scenario is cropping up in Arizona, where the nativist politics of Jan "Headless Corpses in the Desert" Brewer, Russell "SB1070" Pearce, and Crazy Joe "Who? Me? Racially Profile?" Arpaio have turned the state into a political cesspool of bigotry. The backlash, it appears, is coming this fall:
In 2010, the average of 16 polls of likely voters in Nevada suggested Sharon Angle had a firm 3 point lead, and 538′s Nate Silver gave her an 83.4% chance of winning. On election night, the results showed Harry Reid with a 5 point win — an 8 point difference from the poll averages. Why the error? Almost every statewide poll in Nevada badly missed the Latino vote. In the final analysis, Reid won close to 90% of the Latino vote, and Latino turnout was much higher than anticipated.

New polling data out of Arizona released by America’s Voice and Latino Decisions suggests Arizona may be much closer than the polling averages indicate. A full 80% of Latinos say they plan to vote for Obama, compared to just 14% for Romney, and Latino enthusiasm is much, much higher in Arizona than the national average. In Latino Decisions national tracking poll 34% of Latinos say they are more excited about voting in 2012 while 36% say they were more excited back in 2008. In Arizona 60% are more enthusiastic in 2012 compared to just 16% who were more enthused in 2008. In October and November 2010 Latino Decisions polling in Nevada was picking up similar trends in Nevada, leading then Washington Post columnist Edward Schumacher-Matos to note on Election Day before the polls closed: “As the Western returns come in tonight, look out for the possibility of a Latino surprise. For the Democrats, a high Latino turnout could possibly save Harry Reid in Nevada.”

If Latino turnout is high in Arizona this year, it will be the Nevada of 2012 that takes the mainstream media by surprise.
David Pinar at Tucson Citizen notes that the problem may well lie in the techniques used by polling companies:
Matt Barreto of Latino Decisions suggested to Nate Silver of the FiveThirtyEight blog at the NY Times how the polls all missed the impact of the Latino vote in Nevada in 2010: All the major polling firms conduct their polls in English only, while Latino Decisions conducts their polls in both English and Spanish, with the respondent selecting the language in which they prefer the poll to be conducted. The major polling firms missed the Latino voters who prefer to speak Spanish. About 40 percent of Latino voters in California meet this description, with likely similar numbers in Nevada and Arizona. Mr. Silver compiled results from the eight states with the largest share of Latinos in their population: these are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, New York and Texas. He found that in 10 of the 15 races, the polling average underestimated the Democrat’s margin by at least 2.5 points. He concluded that there was the beginnings of a pattern — and considering how rapidly the Latino population is growing, it’s one that pollsters are going to need to address. That was right after the November 2010 election. And less than a month away from the 2012 election, the major polling firms still haven’t addressed that, still conduct their polls in English only, and are likely under representing Latino voters in places like Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and elsewhere.
There may be an even simpler dynamic at work: Many polling firms still do not call people's cell phones (though some firms, notably Gallup, are changing that), and Latinos (especially young ones) are more prone than other ethnic groups to use only cell phones, not land lines. (See Mark Blumenthal for more on this.)

This has produced some strange poll results in Arizona that are only now starting to emerge:
Arizona is home to one of the nation's hottest Senate races. Arizonans are also significantly more cell-only than the overall population, with 38.2 percent of those over 18 living in wireless-only households during 2011, according to CDC estimates. That was a sharp increase from 2010, when 33.2 percent of the adult population was wireless-only -- suggesting that the 2012 cell-only share of the population likely exceeds 40 percent.

For most of the year, it was thought that Republican Rep. Jeff Flake would defeat the Democratic nominee, former Solicitor General Richard Carmona, but the Senate race has closed over the past few months. Both sides released internal polls earlier this week, ranging from a 4-point Carmona lead in polling for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, to a 6-point lead for Flake in polls for his campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee's independent-expenditure arm. (Pollsters for the DSCC and NRSC polls contacted some respondents via cell phone, Hotline On Call confirmed, though these percentages fell short of the cell-only adult population estimate. A pollster for the Flake campaign did not return a phone message on Friday afternoon.)
TThe Morrison Institute at ASU recently produced a fascinating report about "Arizona's Emerging Latino Vote" [PDF file] that observed that, while some of the factors that have long suppressed Latino voting power remain in place there, many of them are crumbling under the weight and energy of young Latino voters in the coming election:
Some political observers — and many activists — believe that 2012 will see a significant turnout among Hispanics in Arizona. For example, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) predicts that Arizona Latino turnout this year will reach 359,000, an increase of 23% over the 2008 presidential election, and will constitute 12% of the total turnout.

These arguments for the sudden increase:

• Many Arizona Latinos have been energized by Senate Bill 1070 and related antiimmigrant measures and rhetoric of the past several years. June’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on SB1070, this view holds, will not blunt those concerns because it upheld the requirement that police officers inquire about individuals’ immigration status under certain circumstances.

• The growing impact of the Latino vote has been demonstrated in the recent electoral victories of President Obama, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, and Phoenix Councilmember Daniel Valenzuela.

• Latino registration rates, while still below that of non-Hispanic Whites, have been increasing. In addition, a coalition of 12 Latino organizations in Arizona has been pursuing what it claims is an unprecedented voter registration drive this year, primarily in Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Yuma and Santa Cruz counties.

• The reluctance or inability of Latinos (and others) to vote during the workday may diminish as more sign on to receive their ballots in the mail — a major objective of current registration drives for greater Latino participation.

• The Obama campaign and national Democrats argue that Arizona is in play in the presidential race, and promise to mount a strong effort to win the state; drawing out the largest possible Hispanic vote is a component of that strategy.

• Arizona Democrats believe they have a strong Latino candidate for the U.S. senate seat being vacated by the retiring Jon Kyl, a Republican. If so, the candidacy of Richard Carmona, a former U.S. Surgeon General, may bolster registration and voting by Latinos.
The study concludes:
Data and demographics tell us a change in the political face of Arizona is on the horizon with the emerging Latino voter. It’s not a matter of if, but when.
Of course, Jan Brewer blames the Latino wave favoring Democrats on "race baiting" by Democrats -- which reveals, really, their underlying confusion and denalism: It has been real race-baiting by a horde of Republicans, including the current GOP standard-bearer, Mitt Romney, that has driven Latinos into the arms of Democrats.

Evidently, Brewer and Co. are confused by their attempt to redefine "race baiting" to include the act of standing up to bigoted politics. Nice try, wingnuts, but people just aren't that stupid.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Romney's Dog-Whistle Campaign Bears Predictable Fruit

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

I'm sure you're about as shocked as I am that this shirt showed up at a Romney campaign event in Ohio. Which is to say, not even remotely.

Via Andrew Kaczynski at Buzzfeed:
The Getty Images photo was taken at a Romney/Ryan campaign event in Lancaster, Ohio on Friday. A Romney spokesperson commented that the shirt was “reprehensible and has no place in this election.”
Now, candidates can't really be blamed for all the nutcases they attract. But what exactly did Republicans think was going to be the outcome when Romney and Co. began indulging in a campaign employing barely-disguised racial dog whistles anyway?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wisconsin Republican (and Ryan Endorsee): 'Some Girls Rape Easy'

Rep. Paul Ryan and State Rep. Roger Rivard in August at a Rivard fundraiser

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Ah, there's nothing like that ongoing Republican outreach to "minorities" who vote against them en masse, such as Latinos and LGBT folk. And women. Especially women.

Like this Republican legislator from Wisconsin:
Freshman Rep. Roger Rivard (R-Rice Lake) in December discussed a case with the Chetek Alert newspaper in which a 17-year-old high school senior was charged with sexual assault for having sex with an underage girl in the school's band room.

The newspaper quoted him as saying his father warned him, "Some girls rape easy" - meaning that after the fact they can change what they say about whether sex was consensual. On Wednesday, Rivard told the Journal Sentinel that the article did not provide full context of his comments and that his father's exact words had been slightly different from how they appeared in the Chetek Alert.

He told the Journal Sentinel that his father had advised him not to have premarital sex, and he took that seriously.

"He also told me one thing, 'If you do (have premarital sex), just remember, consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry,' " Rivard said. "Because all of a sudden a young lady gets pregnant and the parents are madder than a wet hen and she's not going to say, 'Oh, yeah, I was part of the program.' All that she has to say or the parents have to say is it was rape because she's underage. And he just said, 'Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls,' he said, 'they rape so easy.'

"What the whole genesis of it was, it was advice to me, telling me, 'If you're going to go down that road, you may have consensual sex that night and then the next morning it may be rape.' So the way he said it was, 'Just remember, Roger, some girls, they rape so easy. It may be rape the next morning.'

"So it's been kind of taken out of context."

About three hours after speaking to the Journal Sentinel, Rivard issued a written statement that he said was meant to further clarify his points.

"Sexual assault is a crime that unfortunately is misunderstood and my comments have the potential to be misunderstood as well," his statement said. "Rape is a horrible act of violence. Sexual assault unfortunately often goes unreported to police. I have four daughters and three granddaughters and I understand the importance of making sure that awareness of this crime is taken very seriously."
Oh yes, he takes it very seriously. And when a woman reports a rape, no doubt his first question is: "Was it legitimate rape?"

And boy howdy, what do you know? This same Roger Rivard was the beneficiary of a public endorsement and fundraising visit by none other than Rep. Paul Ryan, at the very time that Ryan was waiting around to hear whether or not he was going to be Mitt Romney's running mate.

And boy howdy, was it a warm endorsement:
U.S. Congressman and vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan endorsed the candidacy of State Rep. Roger Rivard during a breakfast buffet held at The Shinako Lodge & Event Center in Turtle Lake on August 9. Ryan introduced Assemblyman Rivard to the citizens of his newly defined 75th Assembly District which now includes the town of Clear Lake in Polk County, the town of Forest in St. Croix County, and New Haven in Dunn County.

Congressman Ryan stated, “Roger needs to be reaffirmed to get this job done and fix the state of Wisconsin.” The Congressman emphasized the support Rivard provided Gov. Scott Walker who took Wisconsin from a $3.6 billion deficit into a $300 million surplus, kept Wisconsin’s unemployment rate around 6.7 percent, and prevented WEA Trust from pilfering millions of tax dollars by over-charging for healthcare benefits, Ryan said.
I'm sure we'll get a statement from Ryan later today expressing his "disappointment" with Rivard's remarks and completely disavowing him now. You know, the usual kabuki. Something to give the shrinking ranks of Republican women a fig leaf.