Archived: Truth in Voting: Do Polls Tell the Real Story?


American history was made when half-black, half-white Barack Obama corralled enough delegates to winthe Democratic Presidential nomination over former First Lady and current U.S. Senator from New York, Hillary Clinton.

Of course, her candidacy also made history. She is the first woman to run a credible campaign for the presidency.

Will Obama overcome four hundred years of bigotry and discrimination based on color of skin? His 20 speechwriters certainly have their work cut out for them in crafting the words they choose for Obama to overcome four centuries of antipathy towards blacks that surreptitiously fuels America.

As soaring orations they may be, Obama’s words will fall on many deaf ears as we saw in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, South Dakota, California, Texas and Kentucky.

Many voters have rejected Obama because they truly supported Sen. Clinton as the most experienced of the two and as the more realistic and thus better connected to the American heartland. For many, however, the color of her skin drew support for her over Obama.

Post-primary polls taken after Obama announced that he had won indicate that 22 percent of Clinton supporters state they will vote for Republican John McCain with another seven percent saying they are undecided on whether to vote for McCain over Obama. That, ladies and gentlemen, is almost an astounding third of Clinton supporters stating that they are abandoning or thinking about abandoning Barack Obama in November.

One poll taken among Latinos suggests that he is doing better than McCain among them. This is ludicrous because without explaining that such a lead must be by almost three to one to be meaningful the poll reflects an urban legend of monolithic support by Latinos of Obama. In Illinois he squeaked out a tiny two percent victory among his state’s Latinos. Thus, the poll’s conclusions are ludicrous.

Hispanic voters in California, Texas and New Mexico slaughtered Obama by voting two to one or more for Sen. Clinton.

The pollsters at Gallup and the reporter who wrote the story at the LA Times must think that because the poll concluded that 62 percent of Latinos allegedly support Obama and only 29 percent support John McCain that McCain is in trouble with Latinos.

Are they not aware that every Republican who has garnered 35 percent of the Hispanic vote since 1968 has won the Presidency? Coupled with a majority of white Catholic voters, Hispanics need only provide a Republican with 35 percent of their vote for Republicans to win.

La Times polling in May showed Barack Obama winning California with 47 percent to McCain’s 40 percent. In that polling Obama led McCain by 14 points among Hispanics. That is not enough.

Secondly, national polling among Hispanics by Gallup and others is inherently defective and produces false positives favoring Democrats.

For example, to be legitimate — polling of Hispanics has to be isolated by region, state and national origin. Puerto Ricans are the most reliable Democratic voters traditionally, thus their support of Obama isn’t important nationally because they live mostly in traditional Democratic New York and other Northeastern states where their votes aren’t critical swing votes. Gallup doesn’t isolate these voters.

Southeastern Hispanic voters are Mexican outside Florida and mostly Cuban in Florida. McCain is favored to win in these states as he did in the Florida January Primary when he beat fellow Republicans with a 5-1 Cuban vote in his favor.

We need to know how the Mexican vote breaks down in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Washington State, Oregon and California. Any changes from 2004’s vote may throw the election to whomever they vote for this time.

The LA Times poll clearly demonstrates that Obama has serious problems in California if his margin among Hispanics is only 14 percent. No Democrat can win the Presidency without carrying California.

This situation is where skin color enters the picture. In a tight election motivations held by small population cohorts can make a huge difference in vote results. People who took skin color into account swamped Obama in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, South Dakota and Los Angeles.

Mexican Americans proved in New Mexico, Texas, California and Nevada that they have serious concerns about him. They overwhelmed him on primary day. His skin color is important to myriad voting blocks of whites and Mexican Americans.

Most polled Mexican Americans are no different than anyone else when asked politically correct questions seeking politically correct answers, they will never tell pollsters how they truly feel – they will lie to pollsters. To these people, feelings become issues.

They will vote their feelings in November like whites do — rightly or wrongly. That does not bode well for Barack Obama.

Raoul Lowery Contreras produces and anchors a daily newscast “News and Views 61” on San Diego’s Channel 61; his books are available at

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