Hispanic Men Moved to Bush; Numbers Prove Elusive, but Gain Was 'Significant'

Article excerpt

Byline: Stephen Dinan, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President Bush's jump in support from Hispanic voters this election from 2000 was almost entirely among Hispanic men, nearly half of whom voted for him this year, according to a study released yesterday.

The new numbers from the National Annenberg Election Survey also continue to fuel the debate over exactly how much of the Hispanic vote Mr. Bush did win last month.

A series of exit polls have shown that support ranging anywhere from 34 percent to 44 percent. But the Annenberg poll, taken in the eight weeks before the election and the two weeks afterward, found Mr. Bush garnering 41 percent support, including 46 percent support among Hispanic men and 36 percent support among Hispanic women.

In 2000, the same poll found about 35 percent support for Mr. Bush among both Hispanic men and Hispanic women.

Adam J. Segal, director of the Hispanic Voter Project at Johns Hopkins University, said Mr. Bush's campaign message to Hispanic voters on moral values and security seemed intuitively designed to garner male votes, and that seems to have paid off.

Politicians and others have been debating exactly how much of the Hispanic vote Mr. Bush and Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry won. The Annenberg study authors say they cannot resolve that dispute, but they say whatever the exact number, "Bush made significant gains."

Mr. Segal said the debate matters because both political parties are trying to assess whether the record amount of money each spent on outreach was worth it.

"A lot of it on face value comes down to money - should more money or less money be appropriated to Hispanic outreach in the future," he said.

But he agreed with the report's authors that, whatever the exact number, "the story can still be written that Bush did much better among Hispanic voters than in 2000, and it was a tremendous gain for Republicans."

He said Republicans are now taking the public polling and their own private polling to see what worked and what didn't. …