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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Latino Voters Trending Blue

You know all that pundit chin music about McCain’s bright prospects for winning the Hispanic vote? The hard evidence is scant, to put it charitably, according to a HuffPo article by Mark Feierstein and Ana Iparraguirre, public opinion anlaysts for Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. As the authors point out:

Democrats also continue to retain their advantage as the party most attuned to Hispanics. In a poll earlier this year among Latino voters in California and the southwest, Democrats held a whopping 10 to 1 advantage as the party that understands the concerns of Hispanics. Obama also holds a lead among these voters of more than 20 points on the issue of most concern to Latinos (and voters overall): the economy.
…Obama is running well ahead of John McCain among Hispanics, and significantly better than John Kerry did against George Bush in 2004. Obama’s leads in national polls are due to his strong advantage (about 35 points) among Latinos. Take out Hispanics, and the race is effectively tied.

Further,

…George Bush’s approval rating has plummeted to below 30 percent among Hispanics, just as it has among the general public. Half as many Hispanics have a favorable image of the Republican Party as of the Democrats.

That doesn’t mean Obama will have a cakewalk, as Iparraguirre and Feierstein point out:

Democrats cannot take the Hispanic vote for granted, however. Despite McCain’s shift on immigration, he remains a formidable opponent. He is more competitive with Obama than a generic party match-up would suggest. McCain will likely seek to blunt the Democrats’ advantage on the economy by stressing national security and social issues like abortion and gay marriage on which many Hispanics hold conservative views.

Still, Latino voters are intensely concerned about the economy, as well as immigration issues, and the Democratic message and policies are resonating well with this pivotal constituency.

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