The Right Coast
March 04, 2005
Don't Blame Pete Wilson for Making California a Blue State (Part II)
By Gail Heriot
In response to my earlier post, one of our readers asked me how many Latinos in California voted for GOP Presidential candidates in elections around the time of Proposition 187 relative to how many voted in favor of Proposition 187.
Here's what I've found:
(1) 1992 Presidential Election: 14% of California Latinos voted for George H.W. Bush, 71% for Clinton and an unspecified number but presumably about 15% for Perot, according to an exit poll taken by the Southwest Voter Research Institute. The article states that exit polls taken by the New York Times and by La Opinion/Univision "showed similar results." See Los Angeles Times, November 29, 1992.
(2) 1994 Proposition 187 Election: 23% of California Latinos voted for Proposition 187 according to the L.A. Times exit poll. See Los Angeles Times, November 10, 1994. (Interestingly, in the initial polls, taken long before the election, a majority of Latinos voters (52%) said they favored Proposition 187.)
(3) 1996 Presidential Election: 22% of California Latinos voted for Dole, 70% for Clinton, 7% for Perot, according to CNN.
(4) 2000 Presidential Election: 23% of California Latinos voted for George W. Bush, 75% voted for Gore, according to the L.A. Times exit poll. See Los Angeles Times, November 10, 2000.
It's hard to draw the conclusion from this data that Proposition 187 is what caused California to become a blue state. Proposition 187 actually polled better among Latinos than either George H.W. Bush before it or Bob Dole after it. What is provable from these data is that Republicans traditionally haven't done so well among Latinos (this is also true among Asians), and even though the situation is improving, it is still likely to be true for a long time that most Latinos and Asians will vote for Democrats. A far simpler (indeed pretty much irresistible) explanation for why California turned into a blue state is the expanding Latino and Asian populations. As I said in my earlier post, demographics matter. Fortunately for the California GOP, it's not all gloom and doom. The longer most immigrant groups spend in the USA, the more likely they will vote Republican.