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Friday, July 25, 2008

Alex Flores Guest Blog: Latinos Strongly Prefer Obama

AfloresThis is a guest blog by Alex Flores that was first posted at Alex on Politics. Alex is from Corrales, NM and will start work on a Master's at Princeton this Fall. A young Dem up and comer, he currently serves on the Platform and Resolutions Committee of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.

Good news for New Mexico and for Democrats across the country! A new Pew Hispanic Center Poll was released this morning with the good news about Latino voters we've been waiting to hear. If current trends hold or strengthen, New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado will likely turn blue in November. Further, in Southern Florida, where Joe Garcia is running a tough race against Mario Diaz-Balart and in Texas, where Rick Noriega is in striking distance of the US Senate seat, we have a chance to take elections never before thought possible.

According to a nationwide survey of 2,015 Latinos in June and July, registered Latino voters support Barack Obama for President over Republic John McCain by 66%-23%! The results confirm what could only be speculated on by some confident Obama supporters during the contentious primary race earlier this year: despite Obama's difficulties with Latinos against Senator Hillary Clinton, Latinos would support his candidacy strongly over Senator John McCain.

Although Clinton won by more than 2-1 in the Primaries, and despite the problem's inflation by the mainstream media, it is evident now more than ever that Latinos identify with the Democratic Party. Additionally, the new numbers show a large number of Latinos are disaffected with Senator Clinton after a bitter defeat and prolonged campaign.

Since 2004, when President Bush claimed the largest block of Latino voters by any Republican Presidential Nominee in history, Latinos have trended towards Democrats more and more. In 2006, Latinos turned out at a rate of 40% of registrants and trended +39 Democratic. If the Pew poll is at all accurate, the new margin is +43 with much larger rates of participation nationwide. This new poll also shows that they are more than willing to vote a black man into office.

Here are the rest of the numbers:

Three times as many respondents said being black would help Obama (32%) with Latino voters than said it would hurt him (11%); the majority (53%) said his race would make no difference to Latino voters.

Obama is rated favorably by 76% of Latino registered voters, making him much more popular among that voting group than McCain (44% favorable) and President Bush (27% favorable).

Hillary Clinton's ratings among Latino registered voters are 73% favorable and 24% unfavorable; Obama's are 76% favorable and 17% unfavorable.

Also, more than three-quarters of Latinos who reported that they voted for Clinton in the primaries now say they are inclined to vote for Obama in the fall election, while just 8% say they are inclined to vote for McCain. That means that Obama is doing better among Hispanics who supported Clinton than he is among non-Hispanic white Clinton supporters, 70% of whom now say they have transferred their allegiance to Obama while 18% say they plan to vote for McCain, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Latino registered voters rank education, the cost of living, jobs and health care as the most important issues in the fall campaign, with crime lagging a bit behind those four and the war in Iraq and immigration still farther behind. On each of these seven issues, Obama is strongly favored over McCain--by lopsided ratios ranging from about three-to-one on education, jobs, health care, the cost of living and immigration, to about two-to-one on Iraq and crime.

In addition to their strong support for Obama, Latino voters have moved sharply into the Democratic camp in the past two years, reversing a pro-GOP tide that had been evident among Latinos earlier in the decade. Some 65% of Latino registered voters now say they identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, compared with just 26% who identify with or lean toward the GOP. This 39 percentage point Democratic Party identification edge is larger than it has been at any time this decade; as recently as 2006, the partisan gap was just 21 percentage points.

This is a guest blog by Alex Flores of Corrales. Alex graduated from The George Washington University in Washington DC in the spring of 2008 with a degree in Public Policy. In the fall, he's moving to New Jersey to earn a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. This summer he's finishing two and a half years of work in the Political Department at People For the American Way (PFAW). Alex is active in local and national politics, and hes' one of the youngest ever appointed voting members of the Democratic Party of New Mexico’s Platform and Resolutions Committee.

If you'd like to submit a post for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me button in the upper left-hand corner of the page.

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July 25, 2008 at 03:01 PM in 2008 General Presidential Election, Guest Blogger, Minority Issues, Polling | Permalink


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