Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Do exit polls misrepresent Latinos and other voters of color?

election day

Grant Slater/KPCC

A polling place in Glassell Park on June 5, 2012

Do political exit polls misrepresent Latinos and other voters of color?

So argues Stanford  University political scientist Gary Segura today in a piece on the Latino Decisions website; the polling firm, in which he is a principal, has been keeping tabs on the Latino voter climate in the runup to next week's election. 

Segura points to language as one problem that can affect exit poll tallies on election night, and how inaccuracies tend to prevail within smaller, geographically concentrated groups of ethnic voters. In addition, he writes the exit polls tend to over-represent people of color who are middle-class and better educated, and this also affects results. He points out some previous unusual exit poll numbers, for example, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer "attracting an above-average 28% share of Arizona’s Hispanic vote just months after signing SB1070 into law," according to the National Exit Poll from 2010.

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