Man Without Qualities

Monday, September 27, 2004

Kerry, Bush And Hispanics

A little while ago there was a flurry of Big Media articles reporting that President Bush's effort to win more Hispanic votes was a failure. We'll have to wait until the post-November 2 post mortem to know for sure. But consider this report from Arizona:
Democratic Sen. John Kerry made four visits and spent nearly $4 million on television commercials in an attempt to make [Arizona] competitive. But polls this fall show President Bush with a comfortable lead, and Kerry has tabled plans for advertising in the first week of October. ... Kerry has not ruled out airing Arizona ads in late October, but advisers say privately it would take a significant shift in the race to put the state back in play. Four years ago, Bush won the state with 51 percent of the vote compared with Democrat Al Gore's 44.7 percent. Kerry's team thought there was a chance to close that gap, partly because of Arizona's fast-growing Hispanic population. ... Nearly one-fourth of Arizona's voters register as independents. But the president has courted Hispanics as well as Republican-leaning voters in the state's suburbs and rural areas.

The Arizona polls to which I have access do not include ethnic breakdowns. But it is obvious that the Kerry-Edwards strategy of playing to Arizona's growing Hispanic population has roundly failed. Mr. Bush's lead is probably well north of his 2000 winning margin of 6% - recent polls show him leading Senator Kerry by up to 16%. The size of that lead suggests that Mr. Bush has increased his support in more than the Republican-leaning voters in his suburban base that he already carried so nicely in 2000. Of course, none of the foregoing guaranties that Mr. Bush's strategy of making inroads among Hispanics has succeeded. But these development are suggestive. Very suggestive.

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