Obama’s Secret Weapon – The Latino Vote

The one demographic which hasn’t traditionally turned out in large numbers is Hispanic voters. 2008 was an exception with Hispanic voters helping power Obama’s win. As such, looking at hstorical data – most of the national polls like Gallup undercount the number of Hispanic voters utilizing the “likely voter” model. Creating the situation – should there be a major turnout of Hispanic voters – most of the national polls will be wrong by 4 to possibly 12% if Pollster Nate Silver  of Five-Thirty-Eight is right.

Recent polling of Hispanic voters indicates that this may just be the case…

Even more interesting may be what this means in the down-ticket races. There is a possibility of some unexpected upsets of Republicans.

If you are Hispanic, and thinking about voting Republican…I have one word for you – Arizona. A vote for Romney empowers the Republicans in places like Arizona to take their campaign of ethnic hatred and domestic terrorism nationwide.  It is your children who are the losers in that.

Linda Vargas, a volunteer with Mi Familia Vota, a national group that helps Latinos become citizens and register to vote, assists Harvey Stroh with voter registration papers at the Hadley Branch Library in Denver, May 31, 2012. (Photo: Matthew Staver / The New York Times)

Latino Excitement at Record Levels in US Election

Just over a week before the United States votes in a highly anticipated and historically tight presidential election, a new poll released Monday finds that interest by Latino voters has strengthened significantly over the past two months, and that turnout among Hispanics could be higher than the records set in 2008.

According to the latest impreMedia-Latino Decisions poll of registered Hispanic voters, 45 percent say they are more excited about the current election than they were for the 2008 election, when Barack Obama was elected. That number has gone up by eight percent over the past 10 weeks, when the poll was first taken.

Further, a full 87 percent of respondents say they would most likely be voting when national polling sites open on Nov. 6, with eight percent having already taken advantage of the early voting options made available in certain states. During the last presidential election, 84 percent of registered Latino voters cast ballots – far higher than the U.S. national turnout, of 57 percent, that same year.

The high levels of interest mean that Latinos will further cement the community’s importance in the current and, particularly, future election. Hispanics make up one of the single fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. population, with around 50,000 Latino youths currently becoming eligible to vote every month.

To date, they have tended to vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party. The prospect has reportedly led to existential debates within the Republican Party, which has seen its voter base – which skews older and whiter than the Democratic base – continue to shrink as a percentage of the overall voting public.

“The polls show that this year we can anticipate record participation among Latino voters,” Monica Lozano, the head of impreMedia, said Monday in a statement. “It looks like the ‘sleeping giant’ has woken up.”

The new numbers will receive particular scrutiny given the general lack of Spanish-language polling that has taken place during the campaign season, despite a massive amount of polling figures coming out on a daily basis.

In mid-October, the widely watched pollster Nate Silver suggested that the relative lack of Spanish-language respondents could increase Barack Obama’s figures by around a dozen percentage points, including in some of the most strongly contested “swing” states, such as Florida and Colorado, that will eventually decide the election.

Indeed, the strong new numbers will be particularly welcomed by Obama’s campaign, which has made the Latino vote a central pillar of its strategy. In an initially off-the-record interview released last week, Obama stated, “Since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt. Should I win a second term, a big reason … is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community.”

The president also noted that this “alienation” of Latinos by Republicans is a “relatively new phenomenon”. This is seen as referring to a host of new and pending laws enforcing voter identification requirements that many have suggested would impact particularly on Latino and other minority voters – typically strongholds for the Democratic Party.

According to a new report released last week by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), “More than 100 years of virtually unchecked discrimination at the polls against Latino U.S. citizens” is now being compounded by a “significant added obstruction in the form of restrictive state voting laws … (that) will have a worse effect on the Latino electorate than on all voters.”

NALEO suggests that these new policies could negatively impact on around 219,000 Latino voters across the country this election, a number it calls a “conservative estimate”. Indeed, after the U.S. courts recently halted proceedings in several states planning to institute new voter ID laws, the report suggests that number would have been closer to 835,000.

Notably, a Republican state official has been caught on tape stating that such legislation was being enacted specifically in order to help the Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s chances of election.

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