Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Weekly Debate: Five months until Election Day

It’s no secret that political pundits have tapped the Latino vote as being crucial in the race to the White House between Barack Obama and John McCain. During the Democratic presidential primary what we heard from the media was a drumbeat of rhetoric boiling down to the alleged “black-brown divide”. While she certainly had some support among most Latinos and her primary victories were in several states with notable Hispanic populations, Obama did have some appeal within the Latino community.

Furthermore, several polls have shown that moist Latino voters would choose Obama over McCain by the time Election Day comes around in about five months:

A new Gallup Poll summary of surveys taken in May shows Obama winning 62 percent of Latino voters nationwide, compared with 29 percent for McCain. The pro-Democratic group Democracy Corps compiled surveys from March through May that showed Obama with a 19-point lead among Latinos. And a Los Angeles Times poll last month showed Obama leading McCain by 14 points among Latinos in California.

The above numbers indicate strong Latino support for the Illinois senator. Yet one representative for McCain’s campaign countered by saying that McCain will make inroads in the Latino community between now and November, and that the percentage of Latinos backing him was nearly as much as that won by President Bush in the last two elections.

  • So what do you think?
  • Will the numbers hold up between now and November?
  • Which candidate needs to campaign harder for the Latino vote?
  • For that matter, is there such a thing as a homogenous “Latino vote”?
  • Could blocs voting in the Latino community switch parties? (i.e. Cuban-Americans to Democrats or Mexican-Americans to Republicans).
  • Could third-party candidates like Bob Barr or Ralph Nader find widespread appeal among Latinos?

If you have an opinion on this topic then please leave a comment and/or vote in our poll.

Let your voice be heard!

Sources- CNN, The Latin Americanist, Reuters Los Angeles Times, azstarnet.com

Image- current

2 comments:

El Loco said...

Will the numbers hold up between now and November?

Barring a major gaffe by Obama, yes. And they may even widen a little.

Which candidate needs to campaign harder for the Latino vote?

McCain. He has to convince Latinos that if he become president, his views and not those of his party will be implemented. That's a tough sell.

For that matter, is there such a thing as a homogeneous “Latino vote”?

No. Different things motivate and affect different groups. Immigration is of no consequence to Puerto Ricans, but it's probably a big deal for Mexicans. And Cubans won't be concerned with it too much after they land.

Could blocs voting in the Latino community switch parties? (i.e. Cuban-Americans to Democrats or Mexican-Americans to Republicans).

I could see some Mexican-Americans in the Southwest more inclined to vote for McCain because of the familiarity factor. However, I wouldn't expect any major switch away from what has been historic trends.

Could third-party candidates like Bob Barr or Ralph Nader find widespread appeal among Latinos?

I don't think so. Third-parties may have more appeal to Latinos at a local level. In a national election, Barr and Nader have to overcome the "huh?" factor within the Latino communities. Also, there is very little that speaks directly to Latinos' needs and concerns in either campaign.

Erwin C. said...

Re. third parties: I agree with you in that I don't think they'll make major inroads into the Latino community yet they can focus on issues that are important to them. There are topics like health care, the conflict in Iraq and the economy that have a broad appeal. Maybe the Greens can tap into the immigration debate, for instance.