Latino likely voters favor Dems – 2008 surge voters show lower enthusiasm

With one week to go before the 2010 midterm election, the Latino Decisions tracking poll takes a closer look at who constitutes likely voters in 2010. Likely voter models are traditionally more difficult to assess in midterm elections, and as 538 has noted, different pollsters use very different and wide ranging methodologies, making comparisons problematic. Based on our latest data in the week 9 tracking poll, we provide the reader with three different ways to assess possible likely voters: 1) based on official vote history, 2) based on self-reported vote intention; 3) based on degree of enthusiasm. Across all measures of likely voters, we find that the Democrats do marginally better among likely Latino voters, than among Latino registered voters.


We define likely voters in three different ways, first 3/3 are those who voted in Nov 2006, the 2008 primary, and Nov 2008; Certain are those who self-report they are almost certain to vote in 2010; Enthus are those who report being very enthusiastic about voting in 2010. If anything, the Republican enthusiasm advantage that has been noted among the general public is reversed among Latinos, whereby Republicans do marginally better among Latinos who say they are not enthusiastic about voting. Given the Republican parties anti-outreach to Latinos in 2010, this reversal may not come as a surprise to knowledgeable observers of Latino politics.

However, the strongest Democratic voters register only luke warm enthusiasm and vote intention. Among those only voted in the 2008 general election, the so-called “surge voters“, Democratic vote intention is the highest, 68.5% Democrat versus only 9.8% Republican, however their propensity for turnout in 2010 is much lower. According to analysis in our week 9 tracking poll (posted here), 2008 surge voters are 20 points lower than 3/3 voters in saying certain to vote; and about 10 points lower than 3/3 voters in enthusiasm. Looking at vote likelihood in a slightly different way, those who are only somewhat enthusiastic also demonstrate higher rates of Democratic vote intention, 65.1% Democrat to 16.3% Republican in 2010.

Enthusiasm continues to grow

For the fourth straight week, we find an increase in the percentage of Latino registered voters who report being very enthusiastic about voting in November 2010. Four weeks ago just 40.3% of Latinos said they were very enthusiastic, and today that figures reaches 58.3%. Self-reported turnout certainty remained constant at 75.1% from one week ago, up 10 point from four weeks ago. As election day draws near, and early voting is in full swing, Latinos are reportedly showing more and more interest and enthusiasm. In response to the “don’t vote” campaign, Univision and Telemundo are both increasing their get-out-the-vote public service announcements, and Latino civic groups such as NALEO, NCLR, Mi Familia Vota and others are doubling their efforts to mobilize Latino voters down the stretch. With close statewide elections for Governor and U.S. Senate in nearly a dozen states with sizable Latino electorates, Latino voter turnout could make the difference in many of these contests.

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