Bill Clinton received strong support from Latinos and other minority voters when he swept to victory on Nov. 3 against President Bush and Ross Perot.
Statewide, Clinton was supported by 51% of Latino voters, contrasted with 27% for Bush and 21% for Perot, according to an exit poll conducted by the Los Angeles Times Poll.
On the national level, support for Clinton was lowest among Anglos and highest among blacks. Voting for Clinton were 36% of Anglos, 43% of Asians, 53% of Latinos and 86% of blacks, the Times' exit polling found. The percentages for Bush were 43% from Anglos, 40% from Asians, 31% from Latinos and 9% from blacks.
"Clinton won the popular vote by putting together a coalition with enough Anglo votes, plus overwhelming support from blacks and good support from Latinos," said John Brennan, director of the Times Poll.
The 53% support of Clinton by Latinos compares with a 62% backing for Democratic candidate Michael S. Dukakis in 1988 and 52% for Walter Mondale in 1984. But the presence of Perot on the ballot dropped the shares for both Clinton and Bush. Bush's 31% support from Latinos is down slightly from the 37% share he got in 1988 and substantially lower than the 48% President Reagan got in 1984.
Without Perot on the ballot, the Times Poll found, Clinton's backing from Latinos would have increased to 62% and Bush's support would have stayed at 31%.
The Times exit poll showed that Latinos made up about 3% of the national electorate and 7% of the California vote, about the same as in 1988.
Latino voters for Clinton said they felt the Democratic candidate cared more about people like them than either Bush or Perot. Other factors cited were Clinton's "vision," leadership and a desire for change. Latino voters for Bush said they were most impressed by his experience, leadership and ability to handle a crisis.
In terms of issues, Clinton voters were most influenced by the economy, education and health care. Bush voters cited morality, the economy and foreign affairs.
The margin of error for the entire poll was 4 percentage points in either direction. For smaller samples, such as Latinos, the margin was slightly higher.
An exit poll by the Southwest Voter Research Institute found a higher vote for Clinton, 67%, by Latinos in California. In that exit poll, Bush and Perot each got 15%.