Saturday, June 15, 2024

Surge in Hispanic voters likely to play role in '08

Polly Baca, president of the Latin American Research and Service Agency, said the state’s passage of laws aimed at immigrants in 2006 motivated Hispanics to vote. That same year, about 50,000 people demonstrated in Denver against government crackdowns on illegal immigrant workers, she said.

“All of that politicized the Latino community,” Baca said. “It’s exciting. I would suggest that candidates that have been anti- immigration are at risk.”

Overall, 54.3 percent of Colorado’s citizens voted in 2007, up from 50 percent in 2002, the report said. That ranked 15th nationally, tied with New Mexico. Nationally, 48 percent of citizens voted two years ago.

Women voted in significantly larger numbers than men – 57 percent compared with 51 percent. In 2002, there was little difference between male and female voting.

Kenneth Bickers, chairman of the political science department at the University of Colorado, said the trend in Hispanic voting will have a bearing on the presidential race in the state.

Colorado, along with New Mexico and Nevada, are considered key swing states for Democratic candidate Barack Obama in his battle with Republican John McCain. All three went for George W. Bush in 2004, and all three have large Hispanic populations.

“What this tells me is the Hispanic vote is going to be more important, and it’s going to be one of the battleground groups between the two campaigns,” Bickers said.

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Rocky Mountain News