Opinion

Opinion

Democrats may lose Hispanic support

August 9, 2010

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Judging from the latest polls, and from readers’ reactions to my last column on Arizona’s immigration law, President Barack Obama will have a hard time getting out the Hispanic vote he badly needs in November to keep his party’s control of Congress.

Obama’s approval rate among Hispanics has fallen from 64 percent in early June to 54 percent at the end of July, according to a Zogby International poll. A previous Gallup poll shows that while support for Obama among whites and African Americans has remained unchanged in the first five months of this year, it fell among Hispanics from 69 percent to 57 percent over the same period.

What’s even more troubling for Democrats, polls show there may be a low turnout from Hispanic voters in November’s mid-term elections.

“The projected turnout among Hispanics is not high: There is disappointment in the Obama administration, and disillusionment with the economy, which is the No. 1 issue,” says pollster John Zogby.

Pollsters agree that if Hispanics stay home, it will be difficult for the Obama administration to keep both houses of Congress. There are about 70 seats in the House that are up for grabs, most of which are currently held by Democrats, and the Republican Party will need to win only 39 seats to retake the House.

And the Hispanic vote will be critical in some of the states with the most contested elections, including Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona.

“The Hispanic vote is probably the No. 1 issue in terms of whether Democrats retain the House,” adds Zogby. “Democrats can’t survive if they only get 54 percent of the Hispanic vote.”

From what I detect in my small journalistic corner, the Republican anti-immigration camp is much more energized than Democrats’ Hispanic pro-immigration camp.

After my July 31 column on the likely impact of a judge’s ruling suspending the most draconian parts of Arizona’s anti-immigration law, I got an avalanche of readers’ comments criticizing my opposition to the law.

At the time of this writing, 225 readers have commented on the column at www.miamiherald. com, the vast majority of whom are passionate supporters of the Arizona law. By comparison, I got only 15 comments from readers of the same column in the Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald’s website, www.elnuevoherald.com.

Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democrat Network, a center-left think tank, conceded that “the Democrats need the Hispanic vote more than they understand.” He added that “the Latino vote in 2010 will be still overwhelmingly Democratic, but it will be a smaller share of the electorate than in the last two elections.”

A spokesman for the Democratic National Committee told me that the party has launched a $50 million effort to get out the vote of Hispanics, African Americans, and young people, who may be the most motivated to vote in November. That — and the fact that Democratic Party Chairman Tim Kaine is a fluent Spanish speaker — will help get out the Hispanic vote, they say.

My opinion: Obama faces an uphill battle in November to get anything close to the 67 percent of the Hispanic vote he got in the 2008 election. Of course, there is always the possibility that the Republicans’ anti-immigration camp will push for even more xenophobic laws, which would re-energize Hispanic voters to go to the polls in support of Democrats in November. But barring that, Obama will have to spend more time taping TV ads in Spanish — faking that he speaks the language — as he did during the 2008 campaign, or he will face a Hispanic voters’ debacle.

Postscript: Since many readers who commented on my July 31 column blasted me for failing to point out that they “are not against immigration, but only against illegal immigration,” let me state once again that I don’t buy that argument.

It’s flawed because, under our dysfunctional immigration system, our labor market offers hundreds of thousands of jobs to undocumented workers a year, but only a small fraction of them can get legal immigration visas. That’s a recipe for driving people to sneak in without documents, and is the reason why we need comprehensive immigration reform.

— Andres Oppenheimer is a Latin America correspondent for the Miami Herald. aoppenheimer@miamiherald.com

Comments

Flap Doodle 4 years, 10 months ago

How's that hopenchange working out for you?

ivalueamerica 4 years, 10 months ago

still seems quite a bit better than the 8 previous years of the most failed President in American history.

beatrice 4 years, 10 months ago

Much better than that mavericky winky winky thing would have worked for us.

Jeff Kilgore 4 years, 10 months ago

And America is easily stupid enough to elect the dumb you go girl next door as its next president. Obama took over a country that was failing by nearly every single measurement. Obama is not doing as good a job as I wished that he would have done, and while I expected a radical departure from the right's insistence that cutting taxes and spending through the roof would work, Obama's continuance of the miserably failed wars shows that he never really was in the position to do the things that he promised or just lacked the courage to end the never-ending war.

Bush II brought our country to its knees. Palin can finish the job to the teary-eyed love of the tea party types. They're mad as hell, and they're going to vote for Palin! There's a strategy. And you can book it for 2012.

independant1 4 years, 10 months ago

Tax and spend will lift us and the economy up?

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

It worked quite well for 8 years of the Clinton administration.

The only four years we've had budget surpluses in the last 35 came during that time.

grammaddy 4 years, 10 months ago

So your answer is to re-intstate the party that got us into this mess, the people who voted WITH Bush 90% of the time,the party who has blocked or attempted to block everything he's tried to do?I don't think so.

Gregory Newman 4 years, 10 months ago

Don't waste your time responding to a nut without a shell. He don't get it. He is one of those Whites that are so full of anxiety and inhibition about Blacks that he cannot see that the conservative agenda is all about destroying the middle class. He needs to ask himself how is it that a Republican can speak of their humble beginnings then after a few years in the House or Senate they suddenly become millionaires. Eventually China will tell us all to leave. They are selling us away.

Moreover, there is this 8-headed monster of loonies (Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, Levin, Savage, O’Reilly, Kristol and Coulter) that have a net worth of over a billion dollars combined in income. They are relentlessly working at keeping you riled-up about Black folk that are working too hard and for most too broke to pay attention. A Repugnant don't give hoot about him or anybody else. Go check out those poor whites in the hills of Kentucky, Tenn and West Virginia. Oh yea thats right if you help someone thats socialism. Even if they're White don't do it.

Gregory Newman 4 years, 10 months ago

It boils down to this. Obama is running this presidency as if this is a junior high student union. Both house and senate are operating on unadulterated lunacy. Wall street wants immigrants this white and black thing is over because we refuse to be docile. Treason is in Wall street and DC. If the republicans get back in learn to speak spanish. This NAFTA/GATT is real we're bloggin against each other and they're getting cashed out by lobbyist.

puddleglum 4 years, 10 months ago

yeah, too bad we didn't elect Mccain/ Palin... (raucous Laughter)

booyalab 4 years, 10 months ago

"It’s flawed because, under our dysfunctional immigration system, our labor market offers hundreds of thousands of jobs to undocumented workers a year, but only a small fraction of them can get legal immigration visas. That’s a recipe for driving people to sneak in without documents, and is the reason why we need comprehensive immigration reform."

This reasoning is like attributing high burglary rates to the fact that only a small fraction of those who were robbed do not press charges. So we need amnesty for people who want a new car but can't afford one, right? What the hell.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

Yes.

Also we could be punishing those that offer these jobs right now, which might help.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 10 months ago

Drug dealers are merely undocumented pharmacists.

Charlie Dominguez 4 years, 10 months ago

This Hispanic is going to vote for the Democratic congresspersons this fall. Who wants our country to go back to only white folks getting all the breaks! The rich getting all the tax breaks! Stupidity running the govt? Starting wars and telling the American people how it was going to be an in and out thing....

And legal immigration in today's numbers are a joke...and most of the "haters" have no idea what those numbers are or where they are allocated to...its easier to just "hate". So keep watching Fox News and reading Cal Thomas...and don't forget to gossip while sitting in the pew!!

puddleglum 4 years, 10 months ago

psst...hey cdominio, white folks ain't gettin the breaks...only the top 1%of our economic society is getting them. The republican party has done a wonderful job convincing all the white people that they are the top 1%, when in fact-they aren't and have nothing to gain from anything that the republican party stands for (corporate welfare, outsourcing all of our jobs to China, de-educating people by closing schools, etc.) If the republican party ever pulls its head out and refocuses on representing the people, they will do well-and have my vote. The democrats are not doing a good job representing anybody these days.

Gregory Newman 4 years, 10 months ago

Rockchalk wake-up puddleglum tried to wake you. Now get this. Since Americans can only function on the blame game let’s run a 4 by 100 relay with 2 heats. In the 1st leg President Carter had a great reaction to the gun with a deregulation bill of the Depository Institutions and Monetary Control which basically put a gun in the hand of the Federal Reserve; then there was a superb exchange to Reagan and then he ran a storming leg down the back-stretch. His baton read. “Government is the problem, not the solution; the magic of the marketplace must be set free.” So he then proceeded by stomping the air traffic control persons and then scrapped the precautionary rules of the 1930’s. Then Wall Street said let’s go boys, its Showtime. In addition, he played a cold war against Russia and didn’t have a dime to pay for it. So he raised money for the Defense Dept. by raising taxes on businesses in 1982, payroll taxes in 1983 and then energy in 1984. Daddy Bush stood pat in the turn and didn’t function well because of the deficit created by the cold war. He ended-up falling in a pit created by his son Neil with the S&L scandal and then nervously went before the Nation. He said “he would do anything necessary to free his son.” He then proceeded by conjuring up bullies and borrowing money to amazingly bomb the heck out of an old friend in Iraq. That will go down as the greatest 3rd leg in history because for 42 days Americans got amnesia about the scandal.

Then Clinton brought it home by running a blazing anchor leg and cuddling Newt Gingwich along the way because he thought that Newt would keep his word by helping him pass a health care bill so he made a compromise by signing a NAFTA/GATT contract that was negotiated by Daddy Bush and Carla Hills; then in the last 20 meters he blew China a kiss with a DUMB STUPID favored nation status.

George jr. opened up in the 2nd heat and got spiked by Bin Laden and bled badly and then often wavered on the right thing to do because he had a Vice President with insidious means so he struggled handing off to Obama who is runnin like a madman because we fell behind and is currently being booed by teammates because he just passed a health care bill that is so large that it would choke a goat plus a great number of folks never wanted him on the team. No one knows if he will finish his presidency on his feet or on his face because the house and senate operates on unadulterated lunacy. Now if anyone is upset about this message it is obvious that you can’t handle the truth. Try swallowing.

jaywalker 4 years, 10 months ago

Sweet hey zeus. Do you actually believe that compilation of McNuggets is a comprehensive synopsis or are the meds having an odd effect?

independant1 4 years, 10 months ago

All spending bills begin in the house. about 50-50 rep/dem controlled under bush.

puddleglum 4 years, 10 months ago

@rockchalk1977:

and why you call me littlepudd? are you big and fat? lessee: during your republican president G.W. Bush's reign: taxes were lowered government expanded, not reduced http://www.scconstitutionparty.com/DontWasteYourVote.aspx free markets?
wiretapping like NIXON is kinda like a free market, I guess. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/16/AR2005121600021.html self reliance: then why need a strong military? Or do you mean go hunting by yourself-not with the vice president? Life for unborn: don't recall any anit-abortion legislation at all..... protecting the borders: with his amnesty program? maybe you stand for these ideals, but I don't see any action on the part of the republican party whatsoever. just more "obama this, Obama that." where do you think that 13.3 trillion dollar debt came from? We know at least 3 or 4 trillion is from the iraq and afghanistan wars. 7 trillion to the bank bailout? Once again: The republican party has done a wonderful job convincing all the white people that they are the top 1%, when in fact-they aren't and have nothing to gain from anything that the republican party stands for (corporate welfare, outsourcing all of our jobs to China, de-educating people by closing schools, etc.) If the republican party ever pulls its head out and refocuses on representing the people, they will do well-and have my vote.

beatrice 4 years, 10 months ago

From the article: “The Hispanic vote is probably the No. 1 issue in terms of whether Democrats retain the House,” adds Zogby. “Democrats can’t survive if they only get 54 percent of the Hispanic vote.”

Two things -- just because people might disapprove of how Democrats are running things, that doesn't automatically translate to voting for Republicans since we all know they would do sooooo much better.

Second: I see Zogby and Republicans are just counting on getting the White vote. Wonder why that is?

jaywalker 4 years, 10 months ago

Aaaah, the racist innuendo. Always so refreshing.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 10 months ago

Were it not for the votes of many credulous Persons of (very light) Color, the Community Organizer in Chief would still be napping at his Senate desk in the afternoons & wondering if dinner was going to be Hamburger Helper again. I don’t think so many people will get fooled again.

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