Who won the Latino vote in Virginia?

Who won the Latino vote in Virginia?
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

We know both candidates for governor in Virginia were fighting for the Latino vote this year. And we know how the election turned out. So did Youngkin manage to sway Latinos into the GOP camp? What exactly was the outcome there?

The very short answer is depends who you ask. An exit poll conducted jointly by the Associated Press and Fox News concluded that Glenn Youngkin had actually won the Latino vote in the state:

However, another exit poll conducted by Edison Research, showed McAuliffe won the Latino vote by a 2:1 margin:

Latinos only make up about 5-7% of the population in Virginia so polling isn’t often very accurate. and in this case the fact that you have competing exit polls means there are ongoing disagreements:

In Virginia, none of the exit polls or surveys leading up to election night had a large enough sample of Latinos to be statistically significant — Latinos only account for between 5 and 7 percent of the state’s registered voters. In the other nationally-watched governor’s race, New Jersey, no exit poll was conducted…

“The so-called exit poll that Fox News is promoting has a clear Election Day bias and way too large of a Republican sample,” said Matt Barreto, president of BSP Research and long-time Democratic pollster who has published numerous academic articles on exit poll methodology. (Fox News and the Associated Press are partners in the survey, which the AP calls “VoteCast” and Fox calls their “Voter Analysis.”) “The Edison news consortium exit poll appears to have a much more balanced sample of mail voters, early voters and Election Day voters, and that poll suggested Latinos voted Democrat at well over a 2-to-1 margin.”

But Sean Trende says the evidence Latinos strongly favored McAuliffe also isn’t very strong:

He also sees some evidence that there was a rightward shift among Latinos in New Jersey.

So the bad news is that we don’t really know for certain right now how Youngkin did with Latinos in Virginia. But again, there is some evidence that Trump’s 2020 improvement with these voters didn’t just evaporate. Over time, as the polling guys crunch the numbers, we should have a better picture and maybe we’ll see some surprises. But obviously whatever coalition Youngkin put together, it worked.

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