Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hispanic Voters Wield Power

Without the support of Hispanic voters on Election Day, Democrats may have lost their hold on the Senate.  While other demographic groups stayed home during the midterms, this group not only showed up to the polls, but reliably voted for the Democratic Senatorial candidates in Nevada, California, Colorado and probably Washington State.

While various surveys leading up to the elections attempted to gauge the persuasion of this group or even if it would turn out at all, the series of anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic ads run by candidates like Sharron Angle in Nevada spurred these voters into action.

Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, with a well-known anti-immigrant reputation, tried to garner votes from the electorate by raising alarm among workers that their jobs were being threatened by undocumented immigrants.   In California, Meg Whitman, who failed in her bid for governor, further alienated Hispanic voters when her former housekeeper keeper came out with allegations of abuse against the former eBay CEO.

It is likely that actions such as these by GOP candidates and elected officials contributed to the results of a tracking poll conducted by Latino Decisions, a polling organization, that found the enthusiasm of Hispanic voters markedly rose to 58 percent on Oct. 25 from 40 percent just a month earlier.

And even though a record number of Hispanic Republicans were also elected, including two governors, Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Susana Martinez of New Mexico, and a senator, Marco Rubio of Florida, Hispanics still voted for Democrats at a rate of 2 to 1, according to several polls.

Compared to previous years, the number of eligible Hispanic voters rose slightly to make up about 9 percent of the national electorate.  In the Southwestern and Western states this figure is much higher, such 22 percent in California.

The lesson learned from the 2010 elections is that the Hispanic electorate can and will continue to wield its power in years to come, and though anti-immigrant rhetoric may occasionally work, for the most part it will only spur this demographic into action against the party and candidates who assail this population.

NY Times