Saturday, June 15, 2024

Political Livelihoods Dependant on Latino Voters

Another surge of Latino voters like the one in 2008 could save many Democratic candidates in hot water and decide several key races across the country.

Last week La Plaza reported that a report released by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) estimates 1 million more Latinos will show up at the polls in the upcoming midterm elections than in 2006.

Those numbers could make all the difference in states with a large Hispanic population and where candidates are literally fighting for their political lives such as Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Nevada and Texas.

In Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been locked in a bitter battle with opponent Sharron Angle.  Hispanics there make up 14 percent of all eligible voters this year and with the backlash Angle has recently received over what many have called racist ads, Latinos may very well hand over the race to Reid.

“The Latino vote is going to be critical in this race,” John Tuman, chairman of the political science department and director of the Latin American studies program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said. “This is a critical demographic for Reid and his campaign. And the Democratic Party, in general, in Nevada has a real, sustained outreach effort for the Latino community.”

In California, Latinos also comprise a large portion of the electorate at about 21 percent of all registered voters.  That amounts to more than a quarter of all Hispanic voters in the United States.

Here too Latinos voters may hand over a key election to the Democratic candidate.  As reported in La Plaza today, Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has lost ground with Latinos over the controversy involving her former housekeeper.

In the state’s Senate race, Latinos voters favor the Democratic incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer over the GOP candidate Carly Fiorina by 48 percent to 29 percent.

In Colorado the Senate race may also be affected by Latino voters.   The Republican candidate, Ken Buck, and third party candidate Tom Tancredo have not been well received by Latinos over their harsh stances on immigration.  Latino voters there lean more towards Sen. Michael Bennett, the Democratic incumbent.

Of course it is yet to be seen if Latinos will actually show up at the polls.

The associate director at the Pew Hispanic Center, Mark Lopez says that compared to other registered voters, Latino voters are likely to be younger and less engaged in the political process.

ABC News