State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-TX) was elected to become the state’s next lieutenant governor Tuesday night.
Patrick’s opponent, Democrat state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, was supposed to have Hispanic voters flock to her because she is Hispanic herself. According to the state media covering the race, Patrick was supposed to lose the statewide Hispanic vote by a whole lot, because during the primary he talked about border security in ways the media does not approve. He talked tough, about securing the border, and so forth.
So he was supposed lose big among Hispanic voters. But then reality hit. The Dallas Morning News’ Roger Jones noticed that the media’s cherished expectations and beliefs got turned inside out.
A conventional wisdom bubbled up among media people like myself about the tenor of Republican Dan Patrick’s message on immigration. We concluded that his hard-edged border security focus in his campaign for lieutenant governor was going to stampede Hispanic voters into the waiting arms of Democratic statewides.
Wrong. Or at least partially wrong.
Patrick trailed Leticia Van de Putte among Hispanic voters by only 52-46, according to NBC’s exit polling on the race. I said “only,” because the 40 percentage range among Hispanics was once a mark of distinction for statewide Republicans. When George W. Bush reached 40 percent among Hispanics in balloting for governor, it was heralded as a breakthrough. Patrick was well into the 40s despite his so-called “anti-immigrant” rhetoric and calls for, among other things, repeal of in-state college tuition for Texas high school grads who are in the country illegally.
Here’s the big surprise for me: Patrick thumped Van de Putte among Hispanic men, 53-46. These voters clearly didn’t find Patrick’s tough immigration stance offensive.
Isn’t that interesting?
You know who else won on Tuesday among Latino men? Greg Abbott, the next governor.
Abbott won among white men and women, by a lot, and among Latino men, by a few points.
Might it be the case that the media assumes things about a whole lot of things that aren’t actually true?