Latino Voters' Enthusiasm Rises Before Election Day

But can they stave off Democratic losses?

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Earlier this month, a Hispanic Pew Center study indicated, to Democrats' chagrin, that a significant number of Hispanic voters "may skip" the midterm elections. Fearing a real enthusiasm gap, the president's party has aggressively courted this key demographic in the final week before election day. In a recent interview with the Spanish-language Univision network, President Obama framed the midterms in stark terms, urging Latinos to punish their "enemies" and "reward" their friends in November.

Despite Democratic efforts, some political observers are skeptical that the Latino vote will stave off potentially overwhelming Republican gains. "If Latino turnout is high this year, it will be because of the Latino civic groups and community groups. It will not be because of the Democratic Party," Latino Decisions pollster Matt Barreto told Politico. Latino Decisions' tracking poll found that 60 percent of these voters say they are "very enthusiastic" about voting, up nearly 20 percent since early September.

  • Dems Are Hoping to Pick Up Voters 'Turned Off by Anti-Immigrant Discourse'  The New York Times' Ashley Southall reports that the president has specifically hit back at "Republicans such as Senator John McCain, who formerly supported an overhaul but now are stressing border security and supporting strict immigration laws like Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration measure." In a radio interview with the Spanish-language Univision network, the president also compared "the immigration fight to African Americans’ decades-long struggle to gain civil rights."
  • Hispanic Organizers See Little Help From DNC  Carrie Budoff Brown at Politico notes that in battleground states major Hispanic groups say the drop off in campaign funding "has been startling, reinforcing an impression that Democrats, after failing to pass an immigration reform bill, continue to take this fastest-growing voting bloc for granted." Democracia-Ahora's Jorge Mursuli, who runs a Miami-based group planning multi-state operations, was quoted saying "I’ve never seen the investment so anemic, It is like night and day. I think it is going to be devastating."
  • 'Republicans Are Generally Considered to Be the Greater of Two Evils' reckons The Washington Independent's Elise Foley, who speaks with Latino Decisions pollster Matt Barreto in a conference call. Barreto makes the case that "Republicans have increasingly pushed for anti-immigration laws that some consider anti-Latino, and meanwhile some Democrats have reasserted their support for immigration reform measures. Immigration is consistently among the top issues listed as a priority by Latino voters, although generally jobs and the economy are considered more important."
  • Don't Be Surprised If Republican Latinos Win  In the Los Angeles Times op-ed section, Luisita Lopez Torregrosa argues that the once-reliable Democratic demographic has assembled a string of high-profile Republican contenders (Marco Rubio, Susana Martinez, Brian Sandoval) that challenges the assumption that latinos don't support the GOP. Torregrosa writes: "This year's election should send a clear message to the Democrats. The projected Latino GOP gains in Nevada, New Mexico and Florida, and in U.S. House races in Texas, Idaho and Washington state, make it clear that the Latino vote is no longer monolithic, if it ever was."
  • A Texas Case Study  Dave Montgomery at The Dallas Star-Telegram describes the effort being made by both parties to attract the huge bloc of Hispanic voters. In the governor's race, between Republican Rick Perry and his opponent Bill White, the Democrat's strategy "is to ignite a heavy turnout in a voting bloc that could make the difference in a tight election. Perry has sought to undercut Democrats' traditional dominance among Hispanics by touting economic growth and conservative principles that he says benefit all Texans, including the Hispanic community." Both candidates have made trips to "Latino strongholds," tout Latino group's endorsements and aired Spanish-language ads.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.