Rick Perry and the Latino vote, part 2

On Tuesday, I took a look at how Rick Perry did in the 2002 election in the State Rep districts (SRDs) that have Spanish surname voter registration (SSRV) percentage of 50 or more in order to try to get a handle on the question of how well Perry performed with the Latino vote. Today I’m going to try to add some context to that by seeing how Perry’s performance in those districts compared to some other Republicans on the ballot that year. I performed the same calculation for the other top of the ticket races: John Cornyn versus Ron Kirk for Senate; David Dewhurst versus John Sharp for Lieutenant Governor; Greg Abbott versus Kirk Watson for Attorney General; and Carolyn Keeton Rylander versus Marty Akins for Comptroller. All but the latter feature candidates that were reasonably well matched in terms of ability and fundraising; the Rylander-Akins race is included to see what the outer limits of Republican performance were that year. Here’s the summary of how they did in these 29 SRDs:

Race Candidate Votes Pct ====================================== Comptroller Rylander 271,075 46.94 Atty General Abbott 223,085 37.48 Governor Perry 232,177 37.16 Lt Governor Dewhurst 217,896 36.08 Senate Cornyn 213,037 34.99

Rylander got over 65% of the vote against the hapless Akins, so her strong showing in these districts should not be a surprise. These numbers are interesting, but there’s still something missing. Just as Rylander lapped the field at the state level, Perry’s overall performance was better than some and worse than others. What we have here is a rough guide to how Republican candidates did in these SRDs in 2002. What we want to know is whether or not Rick Perry did any better or worse than he might have been expected to do, and for that we need a finer look at the numbers. Here’s how Perry did at the state level in comparison to these other candidates:

Race Candidate Votes Pct Ratio ================================================ Comptroller Rylander 2,878,732 66.09 0.89 Governor Perry 2,632,591 59.13 1.00 Atty General Abbott 2,542,184 57.99 1.02 Senate Cornyn 2,496,243 56.07 1.05 Lt Governor Dewhurst 2,341,875 52.93 1.12

“Ratio” is the ratio of Perry’s vote percentage to the other candidates. He got 89% of Rylander’s share, 102% of Abbott’s, 105% of Cornyn’s, and 112% of Dewhurst’s. Now let’s go back to the previous comparison and add in this calculation, so we can see if Perry performed relatively better or worse than his partymates in these parts of the state.

Race Candidate Votes Pct Ratio State ==================================================== Comptroller Rylander 271,075 46.94 0.79 0.89 Atty General Abbott 223,085 37.48 0.99 1.02 Governor Perry 232,177 37.16 1.00 1.00 Lt Governor Dewhurst 217,896 36.08 1.03 1.12 Senate Cornyn 213,037 34.99 1.06 1.05

“State” is the Ratio from the previous table. What this says is that while Perry got 89% of the vote share that Rylander did, he only got 79% of the share she received in these SRDs. By this measure, Rylander outperformed him, as did Abbott (99% of the vote share versus 102% overall) and Dewhurst (103% versus 112%). Only Cornyn failed to outdo him in these Latino-heavy districts.

As before, there are many caveats. First and foremost is the fact that only Perry had a Latino opponent, Tony Sanchez. As we’ve discussed before, whatever else you may say about the Sanchez campaign, it got people to the polls in a lot of these places, and while all Democrats benefited from that, Sanchez in particular reaped the bounty. You can see this the most clearly in the earlier post in SRD 42, which encompasses Webb County, which is Sanchez’s home of Laredo. The point I’m making is simply that Perry had a steeper hill to climb, and that should be taken into account when you judge his performance.

And as I said in the previous entry, this is a crude measure. Nearly half of these SRDs have less than 60% SSRV. It’s entirely possible that many of these districts had Anglo majorities voting in them, and it’s entirely possible that Perry did more poorly with a smaller number of Latino voters in these districts but made up much of that ground with the bigger Anglo voter bloc. You’d have to get to the precinct level to get a truly clear picture, and while I can get my hands on that data, I don’t know enough about these SRDs to know which precinct goes with which neighborhood. Marc Campos has some of that for Harris County precincts, and the picture that emerges there is not one of great attraction towards Rick Perry from Latino voters; I’d guess the effect is the same in these other races as well, but I haven’t taken the time to look for myself. At the very least, we’d need to get a handle on the relative levels of turnout among Latino, Anglo, and other voters. I don’t have that data, so I’m looking at what I do have and squinting. It’ll have to do for now. I’ll have more on this next week.

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