"Don't forget who your friends are. No se olviden. Don't forget," declared
President Obama recently to members of the Congressional Hispanic
Caucus Institute. His words have taken on newfound urgency in light of a
recent Hispanic Pew Center study
finding an enthusiasm gap among Democratic-leaning Latino voters. The study found
that although 65 percent of Latino registered voters planned to support a
Democrat, but only 51 percent said they were certain to vote compared
to 70 percent of the general electorate. After parsing the Pew
statistics, pundits weigh in on the implications:
- 'Strong Support for Dems, Weak Motivation' finds a Hispanic Pew Center
study outlined by associate director Mark Hugo Lopez. Even "among
Latino registered voters, Republicans may be more likely to turn out and
vote than Democrats. Some 44% of Latino Republicans say they have given
the election quite a lot of thought compared with 28% of Latino
Democrats." Democratic partisans can take comfort in the fact that
the "party continues to hold a large advantage in party identification among
Latino registered voters. More than six-in-ten (62%) Latino registered
voters say they identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, while
one-quarter (25%) say the same for the Republican Party-a Democratic
advantage of 37 percentage points."
- Some Good News for Democrats They are
pledging support to "even though only 26 percent of the voters
said the policies of President Barack Obama's administration have
helped Latinos. Thirteen percent said the administration's policies hurt
Latinos, while 51 percent said they had no effect," reports Suzanne
Gamboa at The Huffington Post. And interestingly, "immigration did not
rank as a top voting issue for Latino registered voters in the Pew
Hispanic survey. It came in fifth behind education, jobs, health care
and the federal budget deficit."
- No Lack of Enthusiasm Among Immigration Opponents While Latino voters are "particularly dejected" about the political process, Marc Lacey
at The New York Times observes that "the antiestablishment sentiment roiling the electorate in these
midterm elections, as well as widespread frustration over the country’s
porous borders, seems to be boosting candidates who favor tougher
immigration rules." Which means that even in states with large Hispanic
populations, like New Mexico, immigration is still a "vote-getter" for
- It's Easy To Understand Republican Resistance to 'a Path to Citizenship' for undocumented workers, writes NPR's Frank James.
Sifting through the Pew survey numbers, he finds that "assuming the
voting patterns among the undocumented would, once they became legal,
follow those of current Latino citizens, Republicans could be locking in
their electoral disadvantages in parts of the country with significant
Hispanic populations....To effectively court Latino voters, an important
and growing part of the American electorate, would mean to find a way
to be tough on border enforcement and the problem of undocumented
workers without resorting to language or actions that seem intolerant."
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