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Who Got the Latino Vote Right?

It's all over the headlines — exit polls showed that 29 percent of Latinos voted for Donald Trump. By comparison, 2012 exit polls showed Mitt Romney got 27 percent of the Latino vote.

The question is whether or not the 2016 numbers pass the smell test.

Latino pollsters are once again pushing back on the results.

Survey data from a variety of outlets showed that Trump would get a record low share of votes from Latinos. The NBC/Telemundo survey said Trump would get 17 percent of the Latino vote. The Univision/Washington Post survey put Latino support at 19 percent.

And the polling firm Latino Decisions had been running surveys all year putting Trump's vote as low as 14 percent, with their final pre-election survey predicting an 18 percent share of the Latino vote.

The differences in the polling results, say experts, can depend on the methods employed in collecting the data. For instance, how pollsters choose which Latino voters to interview will influence the results.

For example, Cuban Americans have tended to historically vote more Republican. Puerto Ricans in central Florida may have different opinions about immigration than Mexican-Americans. Latino participants in polls who prefer to answer questions in Spanish may have different opinions than Latinos who only speak English.

The complexity of the experiences of Latinos are wrapped up in their political opinions, and there is diversity and variation among groups.

Polls that do not adequately represent those experiences are more likely to have less accurate findings.

When Donald Trump kicked off his campaign attacking immigrants he thrust Latino voters onto center stage of the presidential election, daring Hispanics to make him pay for his decision. Trump's challenge was a major theme of the campaign and, like it or not, the strength and cohesiveness of Latino voters would be tied to Donald Trump's fate.

If Trump's campaign were to fail, his demise would symbolize a new era of Latino political strength, while a Trump victory would confirm the disrespect heaped on them by former Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer when she dismissed Latinos by saying, "they [Latinos] don't vote".

RELATED: Can Latino Vote Help End GOP Reign in Arizona?

For Latino pollsters and groups, getting the numbers right is of paramount importance, yet once again the issue of accuracy when it comes to polling Hispanics has not been resolved.

The presidential election will have a devastating impact on the credibility of scientific polls in the eyes of the public, and as a political scientist, this is perhaps the most disheartening election I've experienced precisely because of this.

As many political scientists will tell you, getting it right is more important than getting your preferred outcome. Most of the political scientists I know would much rather predict an event they do not personally want to happen but get that prediction right, than to predict something they want to happen, but get that prediction incorrect.

Who is right or wrong about the Latino vote will be hashed out through the science and through accepted methods being used by the pollsters, but who wins the storyline over the Latino vote will have deep political consequences into the future.

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