Myth Busting: Latino Vote, Independents, Prop 13


Calbuzz is here to correct two important myths from the 2010 general election in California, before they are committed permanently to history and passed along ignorantly like the so-called “Bradley Effect” and other dunderhead theories:

1) Latinos did not constitute 22% of the electorate as reported by the Edison Research exit poll and blabbed along by those who would make the Latino vote look more important than it is (for the record, our two posted references to the 22 % factor, one from a guest columnist, the other a suggestion, are here and here). Latinos accounted for 16% of the vote*,  just as the better pollsters had predicted (and just 1-point lower than the LA Times/USC poll found after the fact).

2) “Independents” did not account for 27% of the voters, as reported by the exit poll and some pollsters (we name no names) who rely on party identification – a practice Calbuzz can’t fathom when party registration is available. Actual independents, that is, decline-to-state voters, accounted for 17% of the electorate.

These facts, part of the data pulled from the final voter file by Bob Proctor of Statewide Information Systems of Sacramento*, are important because they demonstrate that Latinos were not driven to vote in historic numbers (although they apparently voted en masse for Jerry Brown over Meg Whitman), nor was there a surge (or depression) among independents.

The 2010 turnout in California was not a Democratic blow-out. Nor was there any important enthusiasm gap between the parties, as so many Republican operatives had predicted. In fact, the partisan composition of the 2010 general election was just about what you’d have expected if you had never listened to any of the self-proclaimed experts: 45% Democrat, 34% Republican and 17% independent (DTS).

Despite Mike Murphy’s predictions right up to election day, the Armies of eMeg produced no discernible bump in the GOP vote. Nor did the Democrats do much to goose the numbers. What they did do – and it was no mean feat – was get the Democrats, including Latinos, to vote heavily for the Democratic candidates.

Target mail may well have been a factor since an historic 51% of the vote was cast by mail – including 49% by those who are permanent absentee voters. And in case you were looking for some massive surge by youth, forget about it: 56% of the vote was cast by people age 50 and older while just 12% of the vote was cast by people age 18-29.

The fact that just 16%* of the electorate were Latinos does nothing to diminish their importance as a voting bloc. The fact remains that Meg Whitman, who lurched to the right on the issue of a “path to citizenship” during the GOP primary and who unceremoniously canned her Latino housekeeper, drove Latinos to Jerry Brown.

But it’s important to understand that while the Latino vote is growing in California, it still has a long way to go. The Giant is awake and pissed off at the Republicans, but it has yet to throw its weight around as it will some day.

About Proposition 13:  Calbuzz readers know that we have already laid out the Path to Normalization of the California budget in excruciating exactitude but when Anthony York of the By-God LA Times reported the other day that Jerry Brown “walked right up to the third rail of California politics,” we think some confusion may have been unleashed.

We weren’t there (what’s new) so we’re relying on York and others who reported that Silver Fox said, “Proposition 13, because it took away the power of counties to tax, for the most part, it sent the decisions up to Sacramento. So we want to redistribute all that.”

What Brown (and Senate Majority Leader Darrell Steinberg) are NOT talking about, it should be made clear, is fooling around with the property tax on homes as permanently reduced by Proposition 13 (although splitting off commercial and industrial property off for separate treatment might be in the mix).

Rather it sounds like they’re talking about giving cities, counties and school districts the ability to raise other kinds of taxes and/or bonds with a majority or 55% vote (as opposed to the 2/3 vote required by Proposition 13) to go along with taking over the responsibility for programs and services that have been paid for by the state since Proposition 13.

So note to Sacramento tax watchers: It’s highly unlikely that Brown and his allies would screw with the property tax. But they might well want to make it easier for local entities to raise taxes and bonds on their own for the services they want to deliver.

For a good wrap of Brown’s budget challenges and intentions, check Ken McLaughlin and Paul Rogers of the Murky News. And for a well-sourced look at what the governor is likely to unveil today, check out Shane Goldmacher’s lookforward in Sunday’s By-God LA Times.

And thanks to Calbuzzer Jay Johnson, who sent us this cool Photoshop of  Jerry and the upcoming budget.

So much for taking personal responsibility: While it may be over the top argue that Sarah Palin has “blood on her hands” in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others in Arizona, it’s revolting to watch Palinistas try to wash their hands of any responsibility by declaring they’re shocked – shocked! – that anyone could even hint the slightest connection to the horror  and her frequent, reckless use of violent rhetoric and weaponry images.

For Palin’s mouthpiece to claim that the crosshairs icon the loudmouth demagogue slapped on Giffords’ district last fall was really an innocent  “surveyors’ symbol”  not only ignores Palin’s own description of it as a “bullseye” but more importantly ignores her history of smirking viciousness in suggesting that those who disagree with her deserve the same fate as the caribou she delights in slaughtering:

“Don’t retreat, reload,” indeed.

And while we’re at it, we have to note our disgust with Palin apologists like the smarmy twit Howard Kurtz of the Beastly Daily Beast, who seems utterly incapable of understanding that the atmosphere of violence promoted by Palin et. al. is not just a riff on standard political fare.

Howie the Genius apparently sees poor St. Sarah as a victim of a media drive-by: “One of the first to be dragged into this sickening ritual of guilt by association: Sarah Palin. . . . This kind of rhetoric is highly unfortunate. The use of the crosshairs was dumb. But it’s a long stretch from such excessive language and symbols to holding a public official accountable for a murderer who opens fire on a political gathering and kills a half-dozen people, including a 9-year-old girl.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Sickening, too.

* After this post appeared, a respected Sacramento consultant passed along to us counts made by Political Data Inc. which, by adding in about 140,000 foreign-born voters who apparently did not have Spanish surnames, would increase the total Latino vote to 17%. It’s possible also, as a friend from the LA Times suggested to us, that some Latino voters, like Latinas who have married and taken their husband’s non-Spanish name, might also have been under-counted. But this can’t add much to the total percentage of Latino voters.

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There are 13 comments for this post

  1. avatar tonyseton says:

    Of course Sarah Palin has blood on her hands. And she will never be able to wash it off.

  2. avatar pdperry says:

    I get it. You guys really don’t like Sarah Palin. Join the crowd.

    But instead of using ugly rhetoric to try and connect folks who disagree with the direction this government is going to a horrific event in Arizona (allegedly caused by a truly deranged individual), howsabout griping about those Westboro Baptist folks who plan to protest at the victims’ funerals?

    Including that of the 9-year-old girl.

    Then again, you seem to enjoy preaching to your choir… just as those you rail against do.

    Did you know that most serious mental illness manifests itself right around the college age years? Howsabout working to get our institutions of higher-learning a little more focused on the issue.

    • avatar sqrjn says:

      How about re-instutiting institutilzation? If anyone is to blame for these continued lone-gunman attacks (other than the shooter) its the 1960’s unholy alliance of liberterian hippies and cheapskate conservatives, joining forces to eliminate strong (but troubled) state run mental health systems across the nation.

  3. avatar RobMolnar says:

    Latinos accounted for only a measly 16% of the total vote? Really?

    How come the gay community (estimated at 10-15% of population) doesnt get the same attention as latinos?

    How come the Tea Party sympathizers (estimated here in CA at 15% of total voters) doesnt get the same attention as latinos?


    LOL. Really? Power of a voting bloc is directly related to their vote share. Why should a 16% voting bloc receive an inordinate amount of resources, press attention, and focus on that voting blocs issue set, whilst other voting blocs such as gays, tea parties, conservatives, whites, asians, african americans, etc, sit around and wonder why a tiny 16% voting bloc is pandered to in the extreme?

    Please spare me with the 20 year old (and repeated once again) bullshit about “in the future they will vote to their total strength”.

  4. avatar ReilleyFam says:

    It’s NEVER a liberal who shoots a conservative. EVERY attack on an individual or institution ALWAYS has a conservative at fault. They promote this type of behavior and then claim innocence – like Mafia bosses who order killings and then fein innocence because they did not directly pull the trigger. Name one mainstream liberal commentator who advocates the kind of violence that most conservative commentators do? Who is un-American and Un-Patriotic? Who abandons the Constitution for animalistic violence as soon as they lose or dont get their way like spoiled children? For all their talk of the Constitution they are the first to abandon it and trade ballots for bullits. They are not patriots, they are traitors.

    • avatar sqrjn says:

      1. Samuel Byck, Lee Harvey Oswald, Dylan and Klebold (if you accept nihilist/anti-christian flavored pschizo disorder as liberal – which makes about as much sense as calling Loughners’ mental health delusions ‘conservative’)
      2. Name one mainstream conservative commentator who advocates the murder of congresswomen and federal judges.
      3. I hope your silly diatribe made you feel better. (I guess that last comment goes for Calbuzz as much as ReilleyFam)

    • avatar SezMe says:

      #2: Rush Limbaugh.

      There, you happy?

    • avatar sqrjn says:

      No. Can you back that up with a citation? Maybe to a NYtimes Headline stating “Rush Limbaugh Advocates Murder”, I like the Times I’d believe them.

      Otherwise I’m gonna discount your statement as silly libel, powered by a lack of intellectual honesty and self-respect. You can disagree with someone’s politics without believing they are a traitor.

    • avatar SezMe says:

      Actually, I can.

      “I tell people don’t kill all the liberals, leave enough around so we can have two on every campus; living fossils, so we will never forget what these people stood for.”

      You can find that in lots of places. I found it on Time magazine, Limbaugh quoting HIMSELF.

      There, you happy?

  5. avatar flicka47 says:

    Where to start…

    First off the Legislature can not just change the2/3rds vote. That would have to be voted on and in this political climate is not going to happen.

    Second one of the considerations that caused Prop 13 was that the California Sumpreme Court found it unconstitutional for each district to set how much money was spent on students and that the state would have to make sure that each district got (spent) the same amounts(it is unconstitutional for Thousand Oaks to spend more that Oxnard).

    So, unless you know a way around that minor detail, as state law stands, districts can not vote for more money for students. Only construction projects, no matter what percentage of the vote is needed.

    Finally, personal responsibility? Give me a break! Own up to your own side’s constant tirade since at least when GW Bush was president. I’m sure you were OK with movies calling for his assassination, weren’t you? Or Kos also use of targets, or Rahm Emmanuel’s use of a actual knife. Or out and out liars like “ReilleyFam”.

    Take responsiblity for your own side’s attempts to shut down dialog, all you seem to want is for others to shut up as you refuse to see that others have as valid an opinion(that’s why it’s called opinion!) as yours. Either open your mind,or act on your own advice first.

    • avatar pjhackenflack says:

      So that you won’t confuse our readers, we’ll clarify: Of course the voters of California, by a majority vote, would have to alter the provisions of Prop. 13 that require a 2/3 vote for tax increases. The political question would be, if coupled with increased responsibility and authority at the local level, and support from local jurisdictions, labor and others, would that pass? Polling would suggest it’s got a shot. Also, as we’ve said before, the Serrano v Priest decision that mandates equalized school funding would have to be accounted for in some way — perhaps by some sort of ADA-based state subsidy for poorer school districts. That’s a level of detail Calbuzz is not equipped to solve. As for the rest of your post, you are welcome to your own opinion.

  6. avatar sqrjn says:

    He said he doesn’t advocating killing. I’m not satisfied by an out of context quote relying on implication. That’s gonna fall in the benefit of doubt zone for big mouth idiots.

    • avatar SezMe says:

      Since this is not a discussion board, I’ll leave you with the last word and let readers judge the evidence for themselves.

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