Coulter falsely claimed "majority of Hispanics voted in favor of" California's Proposition 187


Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter falsely claimed a "majority of Hispanics voted in favor of" Proposition 187, a controversial California ballot measure that sought to deny illegal immigrants most government services. In fact, exit polling shows that the vast majority of Hispanics voted against Proposition 187.

Proposition 187 intended to prevent illegal immigrants in the United States "from receiving benefits or public services in the State of California." It was approved by voters on November 8, 1994, but was blocked eight days later by a federal judge who questioned its constitutionality. It was struck down in March 1998 by federal district judge Mariana R. Pfaelzer, who found that Proposition 187 "unconstitutionally usurped Federal authority over immigration policy" [The New York Times, 3/19/98].

From a discussion of border security on the August 4 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

COULTER: Sometimes you have to do the principled thing, even if it will cost you votes. Here, doing the principled thing will win you votes, and still Republicans -- and Democrats, as you say, they don't really care about national security -- but the Republicans, I think George Bush seems to think that this will hurt him with the Hispanic vote, or hurt Republicans with the Hispanic vote, which is crazy. It's a complete misreading of Proposition 187 in California, which a majority of Hispanics voted in favor of. People forget about that. It was a court that overturned it. That was denying public benefits to illegal immigrants. A majority of Hispanics voted in favor of that. To equate Hispanics with lawbreakers, it seems to me, is the racist position here, but I think that's what's driving the Republicans.

Contrary to Coulter's claim that Proposition 187 has been "misread," a Field Poll analysis of the 1994 general election in California found that the vast majority of Hispanics actually voted against the ballot measure: "White non-Hispanic voters favored Prop. 187 by a 28-percentage-point margin, and white men supported it by 38 points. On the other hand, Latinos voted No by a 46-point margin." The analysis showed that 73 percent of Hispanic voters voted against Proposition 187. The Field Research Corp. conducts the Field Poll, which it describes as "an independent political and public policy poll" that "enjoys widespread respect for its fairness and accuracy in charting opinion trends in California's dynamic political and social climate."

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