Latinos broke 63-31 for Democrat Jerry Brown over Whitman, meaning his advantage among Latino voters accounted for just over seven percent advantage in the overall vote, based on CBS exits. He won by 13 percent.
They broke 65 - 28 for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer over Fiorina, accounting for just over 8 percent of her advantage. She won by 9 percent.
While Latinos didn't make up the difference in those races, they give Democrats a seemingly permanent edge in California, trending blue and skeptical of Republicans after Prop. 187, the state-run citizenship screening program pushed by immigration hardline Gov. Pete Wilson and passed in 1994, but later voided as unconstitutional in federal court. Since then, Republicans have had a tough time in California. Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Lungren only mustered 38 percent of the vote in 1998, and the state is represented by two Democrats in the Senate.
Hispanics turned out well in this election, which is a good sign for Democrats. Expanding Hispanic populations in the U.S. can only mean good things for
Dems, it seems: Hispanic voters say the Democratic Party has more
concern for Hispanics, by a margin of 47 - six percent, according to a Pew Hispanic Center report from early October.
Some have wondered whether Democrats' failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform or the DREAM Act, which would provide legal status to college students and military servicemembers, will cost them all that support.
This morning, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson warned that Democrats must deliver on these two agenda items, prized by Latino political interest groups. "Don't take the Hispanic vote for granted that you have," Richardson said.
But according to Pew's data, immigration isn't actually the number-one issue concern for Hispanics, contrary to the survey findings of at least one Hispanic political/interest group. Education topped the list, with 58 percent calling it a top issue; jobs came next at 54 percent; health care came next at 51 percent; the federal budget deficit ranked next at 35 percent; and immigration ranked only fifth, with 31 percent calling it a top concern.
So how have Democrats earned this advantage? The story is two-fold: 1) they actively court Hispanic votes where Republicans don't, and 2) their rhetoric on immigration is much more friendly to Hispanics.
The Nevada Senate race, at least, gives Republicans an example of how to lose Hispanic votes. Sharron Angle took a hard line on border security and aired ads with Latinos in them; then, fielding a question on these ads, she not only misled a group of Latino students by suggesting 9/11 terrorists came from Canada, but told the students they "look a little more Asian"; she then concluded the race with one of the most fearful, racially charged ads national political observers had seen since the presidential bid of Tom Tancredo.