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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

More on Hispanics

In yesterday’s post, DR discussed the latest news from the Census Bureau about rapid Hispanic population growth and reviewed some of the public opinion and voting data that suggest this growth is a considerable boon for the Democrats.
Today, DR focuses on a very recent poll of Hispanics (by Bendixen and Associates for the New Democrat Network) that supports this case. According to this late May/early June poll, a generic Democratic nominee now runs 14 points ahead of Bush among Hispanics nationwide (48 percent to 34 percent). Considering that a generic Democratic nominee is currently running an average of 10 points behind among all voters that’s pretty darn good. In fact, it relicates the gap between Hispanic and overall voter Democratic support that we saw in the 2000 election. So much for Bush’s “magic” with Hispanic voters.
The top three issues among Hispanics are education (31 percent), jobs and the economy (29 percent) and health care (10 percent). Democrats, please note the very high priority accorded to education, an issue that most of the party’s candidates seem determined to ignore. DR continues not to understand this.
Moreover, Hispanics’ stance on the education issue seems tailor-made for Democrats. The poll asked Hispanics which kind of candidate they preferred–one who say we need to spend more money on public education to build new schools, modernize old schools, reduce class sizes and pay higher salaries or one who says we do not need to spend more money of public education and feels it is more important to focus on teacher accountability, enforce student discipline, emphasize school performance and improve students test scores. By an overwhelming 62 percent to 34 percent margin, Hispanic voters selected the first, education spending-oriented candidate.
The poll also finds that Hispanics believe, by 50 points, that Bush has not kept his promise to make Latin America one of his foreign policy priorities. Hispanics also believe, by 27 points, that it is the GOP, not the Democrats, who have been the party that has blocked many Latinos from being appointed to government positions. So much for the Estrada nomination as a GOP wedge issue with Hispanics.