Saturday, December 04, 2004

NBC Makes Unprecedented Downward Correction in Latino Support for Bush

Press Release Source: William C. Velasquez Institute

NBC Makes Unprecedented Downward Correction in Latino Support for Bush
Friday December 3, 7:01 am ET

18-point Margin of Victory for Democrat Kerry Among Hispanics Doubles Previous NBC Estimates; Numbers Affirm WCVI Criticism of National Exit Poll Figures

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- In a stunning admission, an elections manager for NBC News said national news organizations overestimated President George W. Bush's support among Latino voters, downwardly revising its estimated support for President Bush to 40 percent from 44 percent among Hispanics, and increasing challenger John Kerry's support among Hispanics to 58 percent from 53 percent. The revision doubles Kerry's margin of victory among Hispanic voters from 9 to 18 percent. Ana Maria Arumi, the NBC elections manager also revised NBC's estimate for Hispanic support for Bush in Texas, revising a reported 18-point lead for Bush to a 2-point win for Kerry among Hispanics, a remarkable 20-point turnaround from figures reported on election night.

The NBC announcement came during a forum with the William C. Velasquez Institute's president, Antonio Gonzalez, and other Hispanic analysts at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., sponsored by Hispanic Link Newsletter and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

"Latino presidential partisan preferences did not changed significantly from four years ago," said WCVI's president, Antonio Gonzalez, in his presentation before the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. "While there are still differences in the numbers between what the Velasquez Institute found and the news organizations reported on Election Day, NBC is doing the right thing by revising its estimates to reflect a more accurate percentage of support the President received from the Hispanic community."

Since the Election Day numbers came out, a controversy has existed between WCVI and exit poll officials. Competing exit polls showed a significant gap in support among Latinos for President Bush and Senator Kerry. During his presentation, Gonzalez reviewed the Institute's exit polling data, which found that President Bush received 33 percent support among Hispanic voters, roughly the same percentage he received in the 2000 presidential contest against Al Gore (35% to 64%, respectively). Two network exit surveys reported 44 and 45 percent support for Bush.

"There is no doubt that some churning of numbers has occurred, meaning Republicans appear to have made significant gains in Texas and Arizona while Democrats appear to have made significant gains in Colorado and Florida," added Gonzalez. "But the net effect among these respective gains is a canceling out of one another. Latino voter partisanship has remained consistent with roughly a 30 point democratic advantage in 2000 and 2004's presidential elections."

"But I repeat, NBC has set an example for network poll integrity by taking a giant step away from the Edison International/Mitofsky election results, and toward WCVI's findings. For example, today NBC stated that 70% of its respondents came from non-urban areas and 30% from urban areas, while acknowledging that 50% of Latino voters come from urban areas. This admission could explain the difference in their results and WCVI's. They under-represented Latino urban voters (who are more likely to vote democratic) and over-represented Latino non-urban votes (who are more likely to vote republican). We hope the other networks follow suit with more adjustments in their findings," Gonzalez concluded.

According to its exit poll survey, the Institute found that Latino voters supported democratic presidential candidate John Kerry over President George W. Bush by a margin of 65.4% to 33%. In determining the results for the presidential race, the WCVI exit survey interviewed 943 respondents in 41 precincts across 11 states on Election Day. The exit surveys were conducted in the states of Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, California, Texas, Illinois, and Connecticut. These states represent over 80 percent of the national Latino vote.

About the Willie C. Velasquez Institute

Chartered in 1985, the Willie C. Velasquez Institute is a nonpartisan, non-profit, Latino-oriented research and policy think tank with offices in San Antonio, Texas, Los Angeles, California and Miami, Florida. For more information regarding WCVI, please visit our website at .