NBC and MSNBC host Chris Matthews ignored his own network's downward revision of President Bush's share of the Hispanic vote in the 2004 presidential election, falsely claiming: "The Hispanic community in this country, in this last election, voted almost 50-50, and that includes Cuban-Americans, people from Puerto Rico, people from Mexico and Latin America. Almost -- 44 percent, I believe." Matthews made the erroneous claim on the December 2 edition of MSNBC's Hardball.
Initial Election Day exit polls showed that Bush received 44 percent of the Hispanic vote and Senator John Kerry received 53 percent. But on December 2, well before Hardball went on the air, an NBC News elections manager announced that the initial exit polls significantly overestimated Bush's support among Hispanic voters. As Scripps Howard News Service reported December 2: "Revised figures show Bush received 40 percent of the Hispanic vote, not 44 percent." The William C. Velásquez Institute (WCVI), a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and policy think tank focusing on Latino issues, noted in a December 3 press release that NBC's revisions "increas[ed] challenger John Kerry's support among Hispanics to 58 percent from 53 percent."
But even the revised numbers may overestimate Bush's share of the Hispanic vote. According to exit polling conducted by WCVI, Kerry defeated Bush among Hispanics by a margin of 65.4 percent to 33 percent. WCVI issued a press release that quoted institute president, Antonio Gonzalez, as saying: "NBC stated that 70% of its respondents came from non-urban areas and 30% from urban areas, while acknowledging that 50% of Latino voters come from urban areas. This admission could explain the difference in their results and WCVI's. They under-represented Latino urban voters (who are more likely to vote [D]emocratic) and over-represented Latino non-urban votes (who are more likely to vote [R]epublican)."