Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Do Massachusetts Hispanics Really Approve of Bush?

Today, John Keller wondered why President Bush has a positive approval rating among Massachusetts Hispanics, at least according to the new CBS4/Survey USA poll. He posited a couple of reasons, such as his guest-worker immigration policy or his well-advertised faith.

Personally, I'm not convinced. I think that Keller is reading way too much into a poll of 34 Massachusetts Hispanics. The 54% approve / 43% disapprove represents a difference of only four poll respondents. That sample size results in a margin of error of nearly 17% for that subgrouping. This means that if you ask this question of Hispanics twenty times, all but one of those surveys will have President Bush's approval rating somewhere between 37% and 71%. Looking at the tracking for the past year, it seems that this poll might even be an outlier. This is the highest rating the President has gotten in the past year among Massachusetts Hispanics, and the trend line is not at all smooth. Does anyone really think that anything has happened in the past month to cause a 40 point improvement for the President? That is just not plausible. I would not bother looking for reasons why President Bush had a positive approval rating among Hispanics this month and would instead ascribe it to an artifact of the small sample size until I saw more data.