Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Where is the Hispanic vote likely to go in 2012?

The first question is will Latinos compound their recent increases in population to make their presence known at the polls?  They’ve let themselves down recently, as in 2010 when they sat back and allowed the Republicans to take over the House, although they did win the Governorships in Nevada, New Mexico and Florida. 

But a Pew Research study in 2010 found that 44 percent of Hispanic Republicans planned to vote compared to only 28 percent of Hispanic Democrats.  When it is clear that the GOP still views Latinos in a negative light, it is hard to understand these figures.  Have they learned a lesson with the recent continued rhetoric on immigration reform from the right?

Josh Lederman of The Hill blog looks at 3 states to follow in 2012, but winning them won’t be easy.  If the President had put as much effort behind immigration reform as he did with healthcare in his first year, the numbers might be different.  Seven out of ten Hispanic registered voters are not happy with their personal situation and “frustrated” with both parties.  The building influence of the Latino vote is impressive and has to be reckoned with.
There are over 50 million Hispanics in the U.S. and those who are citizens will represent 10 percent of the adult population by the 2012 election, according to Hispanic News.  With over 60 percent earning incomes of over $35,000, around 44 percent are in the income category that Democrats will probably most appeal to.  But a study by the Center for Immigration Studies says partisanship remains strong regardless of economic standing.  As an average, Dems have a 20.5 point advantage over Republicans.

Following this same study, Democrats have a whopping 32 point lead with college-educated Latinos.  And the longer these folks are in the country, the stronger they lean to the left.  But Hispanic News tells us that even with a rapidly growing population, Latinos still don’t register to vote like Whites and Blacks.  Much of this can be attributed to the bigoted anti-immigrant laws passed recently in Arizona and Alabama.  Even the legals are still skeptical of the likes of a Joe Arpaio. (Arizona’s Sheriff who regularly intimidates and arrests immigrants)

Only around 60 percent of Hispanic citizens are registered to vote, compared to 70 percent of Blacks, 74 percent of Whites.  The HN site estimates that 21.5 million Latino citizen adults will be eligible to vote in 2012, leaving over 8 million to get registered.  However, this could all change with President Obama’s recent deportation policy to concentrate now on criminals.  It helps relieve law enforcement as well as recognizing the fact that some of the migrants caught in raids like those of Arizona Sheriff Arpaio are honest working individuals.

The 3 states up for grabs, as reported by The Hill’s Lederman are Arizona, Florida and Nevada.  Arizona, with a Latino population of 1,895,149 in 524,806 households is looking much better since the anti-immigration bigot, State Sen. Russell Pearce lost his seat in a recall.  Also, former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, an Independent but loyal to Democrats, will run to take over Republican Jon Kyl’s Senate seat.  And one prominent state Republican has said that based on his pissing off Hispanics, Romney would be lucky to get 9 percent of the Latino vote.

 Florida, on the other hand, is a hard state in which to predict the Hispanic vote, because of its diversification of immigrants from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Central and South America.  A GOP strategist says you would insult them by making an appeal to everyone as a group. 

The question is, do even the Dems have the time and money to devise separate campaigns?  U.S. Sen. Bill nelson (D) will likely be running against Republican Connie Mack, whose criticism of Arizona’s immigration crackdown could garner Latino votes.  Total Hispanic population is 4,223,806 in 1,422,496 households.

Nevada, hard hit by a slumping economy fraught with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, has a smaller Latino presence; population 716,501 in 192,459 households.  Democrats are working hard in this state where Hispanics made up 16 percent of the electorate in 2010, giving Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) 66 percent support, 86 percent among Spanish-speaking voters.  Republican Dean Heller appointed to Jon Ensign’s seat after his resignation will run as an incumbent against whoever the Dems come up with.

The only state of the three not included in the USA Today/Gallup Poll 12 swing states is Arizona.  But with the recent extremist politics in this state voters seem to be fed up with, Arizona could go all the way over to the left side.

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