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Bush's Hispanic Vote Dissected

By John F. Harris
Sunday, December 26, 2004; Page A06

Political analysts are still scratching their heads over what share of the crucial Hispanic vote President Bush won last month. The National Annenberg Election Survey does not claim to have solved the mystery, but it is pretty sure about this much: Bush did significantly better with this bloc in 2004 than he did in 2000, and men are the reason.

News media exit polls on election night reported Bush winning 44 percent of Hispanics this year, a startling nine percentage-point jump from 2000. Some skeptics weren't buying it, saying the data were flawed. Antonio Gonzalez, president of the William C. Velasquez Institute, said his exit poll showed Bush taking 33 percent.

The Annenberg survey, which is run through the University of Pennsylvania, says its best estimate is that 41 percent of the Hispanic vote went for Bush over Democratic nominee John F. Kerry. It got the figure by analyzing its polls taken in the eight weeks before Election Day and two weeks after. (Only the later polls, obviously, could ask how someone actually voted. The earlier ones measured voter intentions.)

Among male Hispanics, Bush's support rose from 34 percent in 2000 to 46 percent this time -- the most notable finding of the Annenberg data. Bush support among women rose a statistically insignificant one percentage point, to 36 percent.

Other nuggets from the analysis: Protestant Hispanics gave Bush a clear majority. (Most Hispanics are Roman Catholic). And voters who asked to be interviewed in Spanish were less likely to be Bush backers -- 36 percent, vs. 42 percent who did the interview in English.

Falwell Returns to Politics

Jerry Falwell is back. Not that he went anywhere, of course, as anyone who watches political talk shows knows. After the 2004 election, though, Falwell is getting back in the business of mobilizing conservative Christian voters as he did when he sprang to national notice in 1980.

That year was when the Moral Majority drew widespread attention for its brand of socially conservative politics, which helped put Ronald Reagan in the White House. But the Moral Majority disbanded in 1989, as the Lynchburg, Va., minister vowed to devote more time to his Liberty University.

Recently, Falwell launched a new group, the Faith and Values Coalition, which he is describing as a "21st Century resurrection of the Moral Majority."

Falwell, 71, plans to serve as national chairman for four years. In a statement, Falwell said the group's initial three main priorities are to help put judges opposed to abortion rights on the federal bench, including the Supreme Court; to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage; and to help elect another conservative president in 2008.

In his statement, Falwell recalled how in 1979, "God burdened my heart to mobilize religious conservatives" around an antiabortion, pro-defense and pro-Israel platform that would "return America to her Judeo-Christian heritage." Now, he says, "I distinctively feel that burden again."

One L. of a Misspelling

New York has made it official: the winner of the Empire State's 31 electoral votes is . . . um, you know, that tall guy with the thick head of hair.

When the state's "certificate of vote" was posted on the National Archives Web site, someone noticed that the state had actually certified the vote for someone named John L. Kerry. Presumably they meant John F. Kerry, the Democratic nominee, whose name was listed correctly on New York ballots.

When it came to certifying the vote, someone in Albany was apparently clumsy at the keyboard, or otherwise had a synapse misfiring. "The ballots were correct, but for some reason with this document when it was typed up, nobody caught it in the proofing, including myself," Peter Constantakes, spokesman for the New York Department of State, told the Associated Press.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company