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Entries in Latinos (16)

Wednesday
Nov072012

Exit Polls: Obama's Winning Coalition of Women and Nonwhites

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A coalition of women and nonwhites helped re-elect President Obama to a second term Tuesday night.

Obama has always performed better with women than with men, and with nonwhites than with whites.  But on Tuesday night, those numbers were so much in his favor that they built Obama a powerful firewall against a dropoff in support from white men and independent voters.

Nonwhite voters turned out to vote in higher numbers than ever.  They made up 21 percent of all voters.  In 1996, they were just 10 percent.

That new bloc was evident in Florida, the perennial swing state that was thought to be in Mitt Romney's corner.  Hispanics came out in force for Obama, in greater numbers than in 2008 when Obama beat John McCain among Hispanics in Florida 57 to 42 percent.  On Tuesday, he beat Romney among Hispanics 60 to 39 percent.

And as the country tinted blue for the second presidential election in a row, it also got a little less white.

White voters made up only 72 percent of the electorate in this election, according to exit polls.  That's still a majority, but it's the lowest in exit polls dating from 1976.

Romney won the white vote handily, 58 to 40 percent, the biggest lead for a Republican since 1988.

Romney's most reliant bloc the whole campaign was white men.  He led by 25 points with them on Tuesday.  But in 1976, white men were 46 percent of voters.  Today, they're at a new low, 34 percent.

If white women had stayed in Romney's camp, those swing states -- Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire -- might have moved into his column.  Instead, Obama led among women by 12 points, nearly identical to his lead among women four years ago.

In Florida, Obama led Romney by just two points among independents, according to the exit polls.  In 2008, that number was seven.

In Ohio, Romney leads Obama by 10 points among independents -- a significant number considering that in 2008 Obama had an 8 point lead over McCain in Ohio among the same nonaligned voters.  But women came to Obama's rescue, keeping him competitive.  Exit polls showed Obama with a 12 point lead among women, more than his 8 point lead in 2008.

In Wisconsin, a state that Romney needed badly, Obama's one-time strength among independents appeared to be neutralized.  He won independents there by 19 points in 2008, but preliminary polls now show that Romney fought to a draw with them.  However, Obama prevailed among young voters, and other voters there said they favored the auto bailout by 51 to 40 percent, an issue that the president held over Romney in the Midwest.

Obama lost just a few independents in Iowa, but more than made up for it by winning over women, who picked the president over Romney by a double-digit margin.

In Virginia, Romney won independents by 53 to 41 percent.  Four years ago, Obama and McCain tied among independents in the commonwealth.

Just like white men, independents make up less of the electorate than they did four years ago.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun222012

Romney Rips Obama's Immigration Approach in Speech to Latinos

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(BUENA VISTA, Fla.) -- In a high-profile address to Latinos on Thursday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said President Obama had "failed to address immigration reform" after promising to do so during the 2008 campaign and vowed that, if elected, he would enact comprehensive measures that would enable families to remain together and improve economically.

"I will work with Republicans and Democrats to build a long-term solution," Romney said in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to scattered applause from the audience.  "I will prioritize efforts that strengthen legal immigration and make it more transparent and easier.  And I will address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil but resolute manner.  We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it."

Romney's much-anticipated address to the annual conference held by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) came at a time when Obama's advantage with Latinos appears to be growing.  In 2008, Obama won the Latino vote by more than a two-to-one margin and, after the president's announcement last week that his administration would not seek to deport up to 800,000 children of illegal immigrants in this country, his lead now seems more formidable than ever.

Romney in Florida denounced Obama's move as "a stop-gap measure" that was a political effort to win the Latino vote.

"I think you deserve better," Romney told the group.  "Some people have asked if I will let stand the president's executive action.  The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president's temporary measure."

While Romney avoided offering many specific details on his broader immigration approach, he said that he would take "common-sense" steps to keep immigrant families together.

"Too many families are caught in a broken system that costs them time and money and entangles them in excessive red tape," he said.  "For those seeking to come to America the right way, that kind of bureaucratic nightmare has to end.  And we can do this with just a few common-sense reforms.  As president, I'll reallocate green cards to those seeking to keep their families under one roof.  We will exempt from caps the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents.  And we will eliminate other forms of bureaucratic red tape that keep families from coming together."

Although Romney currently trails Obama by large margins, according to recent polls of Latinos, the Republican hopeful may have reason for optimism.  Even though Obama's decision to relax the deportation rules helped the president's standing with Latinos, the most important issue to the nation's fastest-growing voting bloc is not immigration, but rather the economy -- and on that front, Romney may see an opening: the current unemployment rate for Latinos is 11 percent, higher than the national average of 8.2 percent.

On Friday, Obama will also speak to the same group, where he is expected to encounter a friendlier crowd than Romney did, but the moment of truth for both candidates will not come until November.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun212012

Romney's Speech to Latinos Could Shape Fate of His Candidacy

Richard Ellis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For the first time in this presidential election, both President Obama and Mitt Romney this week will directly address Latinos, a crucial voting bloc that could swing this fall’s race for the White House.

On Thursday, Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, will speak to the annual conference held by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).  On Friday. it's Obama’s turn.  The dueling speeches highlight both parties’ push to win the support of the nation’s fastest-growing voting bloc.

The battlelines appear to be drawn.  Obama enjoys a huge edge among Latinos, as he has dating back to his 2008 victory over Sen. John McCain.  That year, Obama won 67 percent of the Latino vote -- and this year he looks poised to do even better, especially on the heels of his announcement last Friday that his administration would not seek to deport up to 800,000 children of illegal immigrants living in this country.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll earlier this spring revealed 73 percent of Latinos backing Obama, compared with only 26 percent for Romney.  Since last Friday’s move by the White House, polls have shown a nearly double-digit jump in support for Obama among Latinos.

Obama’s decision to relax the country’s deportation laws directly answered one of the main gripes that Latinos had previously expressed about his tenure in the Oval Office: his failure to deal with immigration reform.  Despite promising comprehensive reforms when he was on the campaign trail in 2008, Obama never followed through, despite enjoying a Democrat-controlled Congress during his first two years in Washington.

Even the DREAM Act, a scaled-back immigration bill that would provide a path to citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants who join the military or attend college, failed to pass the Senate in late 2009.  The new White House policy to offer temporary work permits to young illegal immigrants who came into this country as children is similar to the DREAM Act.

“The announcement on June 14 appears to have clearly erased Obama’s enthusiasm deficit among Latinos,” said Matt Barreto, a researcher at Latino Decisions and associate professor of political science at the University of Washington.

If Obama has any cause for concern about Latinos, it may be turnout. The number of registered Latino voters dropped significantly in recent years -- and projections on how many Latinos will vote in November, once as high as 12.2 million according to NALEO, now hover around 10.5 million, according to the William C. Velasquez Institute.

Still, Romney is in a much more difficult position.  Not only is he facing an opponent who won Latinos by more than a two-to-one margin in the last election, but he also has to address criticism from Latinos after a series of controversial comments during the GOP primary.  The former Massachusetts governor vowed to veto the DREAM Act, praised Arizona’s controversial new anti-immigrant law, and touted the endorsement of controversial anti-immigration activist Kris Kobach.  

If Romney cannot boost his standing among Latinos to around 40 percent support, then according to Republican strategist Ana Navarro earlier this year, “He can kiss the White House goodbye.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun202012

Republicans Push for Latino Vote

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Despite President Obama’s advantage with Latino voters, boosted after his immigration announcement last Friday, Republicans are not ceding the Latino electorate, focusing instead on how the country’s sluggish economy and high unemployment rate have been especially hard for Latinos.

Just days after Obama announced his administration would not seek to deport up to 800,000 children of illegal immigrants, the Republican National Committee came out with a new web video in both English and Spanish, and a research piece that hit the president for the nation’s economic problems and how they had disproportionately hurt Latinos.

Over the voices of news coverage telling the viewer, “Latino unemployment is in the double digits,” the video shows images of both the president and struggling families.

“After four years of President Obama, our economy isn’t better,” a graphic reads before these statistics appear over a woman looking through her bills: “Hispanic unemployment skyrocketed to 11 percent” and “2.3 million more Hispanics in poverty.”

The video says more Latinos are likely to be uninsured, before it ends with a clear message: “While Obama plays politics, Hispanics are suffering in the Obama economy.”

In a nod to the hand-to-hand combat for every vote in this race, the RNC and the Romney campaign will continue to go after Latino voters despite the president’s polling advantage.

A Bloomberg poll released on Tuesday surveyed likely voters after the president’s move, and 64 percent agreed with Obama’s policy, while 30 percent disagreed.  The survey did leave voters divided along party lines, with 86 percent of Democrats favoring the measure while 56 percent of Republicans opposed it.

Other polls have shown a nearly double-digit jump in support for Obama among Hispanics since he made the change, and the president was already doing well among the country’s largest minority.  An ABC News/Washington Post poll earlier this spring revealed 73 percent of Latinos backed Obama, compared with 26 percent for Romney.

The new policy is similar to the Dream Act, supported by Obama, but rejected by Republicans in Congress.  It will offer temporary work permits to young illegal immigrants who were brought to this country by their parents.

Both the president and the presumptive GOP nominee will continue their outreach to the Latino community this week. They both will address the annual National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference in Orlando, Fla., with Romney speaking on Thursday and Obama on Friday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May232012

Romney Looks to Make Inroads with Latinos in DC Speech

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Mitt Romney will speak to the Latino Coalition’s annual economic summit in the nation's capital Wednesday afternoon, the latest attempt by the presumptive Republican nominee to make inroads into the country’s fastest-growing voting bloc.

He’s got his work cut out for him.  The latest polls show Romney trailing far behind President Obama among Latino voters.  In an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken earlier this spring, 73 percent of Latinos supported Obama compared with 26 percent for Romney.  If  Obama can get Latinos to head to the polls in droves and back him by that type of margin, the White House will almost definitely be his for another four years.

Even members of his own party acknowledge that Romney faces an uphill battle with Latinos.  Only months after he mentioned New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, as a possible running mate, Martinez said Latinos “have been alienated” over the course of the GOP campaign this past year, even taking aim at Romney’s immigration policy of “self-deportation.”

”Self-deport?  What the heck does that mean?” Martinez told Newsweek.  “I have no doubt Hispanics have been alienated during this campaign.  But now there’s an opportunity for Gov. Romney to have a sincere conversation about what we can do and why.”

Whether or not Romney will seize that opportunity after doing so much damage to his standing with Latinos during the primary is a real question.  The former Massachusetts governor vowed to veto the Dream Act, praised Arizona’s controversial new anti-immigrant law and touted the endorsement of controversial activist Kris Kobach. 

If Romney cannot boost his standing among Latinos to around 40 percent support, then according to Republican strategist Ana Navarro, “he can kiss the White House goodbye.”

Wednesday’s speech, scheduled for noon, could help.  So too could the attack dog work of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a possible VP pick for Romney, who has aggressively gone after Obama in recent weeks.

Rubio is expected to hammer Obama’s record when he addresses the Latino Coalition hours after Romney.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May082012

Obama Campaign Launches Second Round of Spanish Ads

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Continuing its effort to court Latino voters, President Obama’s re-election campaign Tuesday launched its second round of Spanish-language TV and radio ads.

The ads, which will air in Colorado, Florida and Nevada tout the president’s record on health care, including providing affordable care to up to nine million previously uninsured Hispanics by 2014.

The three 30-second clips feature Latino supporters of the president’s campaign speaking with community members about Obama’s health care accomplishments.

The campaign’s first round of Spanish-language ads, released last month, focused on the president’s record on economic and education policy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr182012

Obama Campaign Courts Latino Voters

BarackObama.com(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s re-election campaign is stepping up efforts to mobilize Latino voters — a key Democratic voting bloc — launching its first Spanish-language TV and radio ads of the 2012 election and a new grassroots organizing group “Latinos for Obama.”

The ads, which will air in the battleground states of Nevada, Colorado and Florida, present positive looks at Obama’s record on economic and education policies that Democrats say have benefited Latino communities.

The spots feature personal testimonials from Latino supporters of Obama, talking about why they are organizing for his re-election.

The campaign says “Latinos for Obama” is the “largest-ever national effort to communicate to Latino voters and organize and mobilize the Latino vote.”

“It’s no secret that Latinos will be the deciding factor in this election and the outcome will have an impact on the Latino community for years to come,” said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina on a conference call with reporters.

Obama won 67 percent of the Latino vote in 2008.  Most independent analysts say the Republican nominee will need to get around 40 percent of Latino voters in 2012 to win the election.

“Our victory depends on people spreading the word,” Messina said, stressing the importance of voter turnout.

Campaign officials say the new initiative will aggressively expand recruitment of volunteers, voter education and registration and turn out operations for November. Hundreds of grassroots events are planned for the next few weeks, Messina said.

The campaign also plans to deploy high-profile Hispanic Obama surrogates to conduct targeted outreach.  The team includes San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, actress Eva Longoria, and comedian George Lopez.

Republicans have recently touted their efforts to dispatch Hispanic outreach directors to a dozen key battleground states and push an aggressive Spanish-language media campaign in the battle for Latino votes.

Messina said Democrats’ efforts would be more effective and sustained than the Republicans’.

“They’re naming one person per state from what I read, while we’ve had people on the ground for years,” he added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb152012

Villaraigosa Pick Shows Importance of Latinos in Election

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for BGR(LOS ANGELES) -- If ever there was a sign of how crucial the Latino vote will be in the upcoming presidential election, look no further than the fact that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been tapped as the chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

An estimated 12.2 million Latinos will vote in the election, according to projections from the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, a 26-percent increase from 2008. They are the nation’s fastest-growing voting bloc.

“I will be reaching out to Latino voters,” Villaraigosa said on a conference call Wednesday. “There’s a benefit to being bilingual.”

Latinos tend to side with Democrats. They backed Obama by a 2-1 margin in 2008, but Obama has failed to enact comprehensive immigration reforms in his three years as president despite promising to do so during the campaign. Coupled with the nation’s economic struggles, that could be enough for some Latinos to side with Republicans this fall. It will come as comfort to the White House, though, that in recent polls Obama has maintained huge leads among Latino voters.

To date Villaraigosa has been a trusted surrogate for Obama, ripping into his possible Republican rivals in the past few weeks. In an appearance on CNN late last month, Villaraigosa claimed that the GOP candidates have veered so far to the right in an effort to secure their party’s nomination that in the process they have alienated Latinos.

“When it comes to policies and actions, it’s the president who has helped to create 2 million jobs that Latinos have right now, 6 million overall with the Recovery Act, so it’s not just immigration,” Villaraigosa said. “I would agree with respect to rhetoric, however, that some of that divisive polarizing rhetoric that you see and hear in the Republican debates are turning off a lot of voters, including a lot of Latino voters.”

According to a poll released last month by ABC News and Univision, registered Latino voters nationwide would back Obama over GOP front-runner Mitt Romney 67 percent to 25 percent. At a speech last Wednesday in Washington, Villaraigosa ripped Romney as “a presidential candidate who has abandoned immigration reform and instead advocates self-deportation.”

The DNC is planning to release a video from Villaraigosa in Spanish, although it has yet to be posted on their website.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan302012

Obama Campaign: GOP Rhetoric ‘Sealed Political Fate’ with Hispanics

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As the Florida primary hurtles to a close on Tuesday, President Obama’s re-election campaign is claiming an early victory: the loyalty of a strong majority of Hispanic voters, many of whom, they say, are disgusted by the GOP candidates’ rhetoric on immigration.

“Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich may very well have already sealed the political fate of their party with the Hispanic electorate -- the fastest growing voting bloc in the country,” Obama for America Hispanic pollster Sergio Bendixen and spokeswoman Gabriela Domenzain wrote in a memo to reporters on Monday.

“Their extreme rhetoric on immigration during the televised debates has rejected our history as a nation of immigrants and alienated millions of Hispanic voters nationally,” they said.

The memo calls Romney’s vocal opposition to the DREAM Act, which he’s described as a “handout,” a “demagogic appeal to Tea Party voters.”  Eighty-five percent of Hispanic voters support the measure, according to a new Univision/Latino Decisions poll.

It also cites Gingrich’s 2007 comment on Spanish as “the language of living in a ghetto” -- resurfaced by Romney in a 2012 campaign ad -- as “offensive on face value.”  The former House speaker made the remark while promoting bilingual education.

Polls show that Hispanic voters are turned off by harsh primary season rhetoric on immigration and remain strongly supportive of Obama in Florida and nationwide.

Obama leads by wide margins among Hispanic voters in hypothetical general election match-ups with Romney and Gingrich, according to a Univision/Latino Decisions poll released on Jan. 25.

Hispanics would choose Obama over Gingrich, 70 to 22 percent, according the poll, while preferring Obama to Romney, 67 to 25 percent. In 2008, Obama won 67 percent of the Hispanic vote over John McCain, who won 31 percent.

And even if Romney or Gingrich draws strong support from conservative Florida Hispanics on Tuesday, Bendixen and Domenzain claim, the GOP nominee would still face a support deficit in the general election fight for the Sunshine State’s 29 electoral votes.

Obama leads Romney (50-40 percent) and Gingrich (52-38 percent) among Florida Hispanics in general election match-ups in the Univision/Latino Decisions poll.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan302012

LA Mayor: ‘Divisive, Polarizing’ GOP Rhetoric Alienates Latino Voters

Comstock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- One of the most fiercely debated issues in the Republican primary thus far has been immigration, but with front-runner Mitt Romney vowing to veto the DREAM Act if elected president, it is a fair question to ask if the GOP candidates have veered so far to the right in an effort to secure their party’s nomination that in the process they have alienated Latinos, the nation’s fastest-growing voting bloc.

According to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, that’s exactly what’s happening.

“America is a big tent. We come from every corner of the earth.  Our values should represent that, and our politics and our actions, our policies should represent that,” Villaraigosa said Sunday morning in an interview with Candy Crowley on CNN’s State of the Union. “And I think, when you talk about the question of immigration as an example, many of the policies that you see articulated right now in those debates are just out of the mainstream.”

But it’s more than just immigration that’s alienating Latinos these days, he noted.

“When it comes to policies and actions, it’s the president who has helped to create two million jobs that Latinos have right now, six million overall with the Recovery Act, so it’s not just immigration,” he said, without explaining the claim. “I would agree with respect to rhetoric, however, that some of that divisive polarizing rhetoric that you see and hear in the Republican debates are turning off a lot of voters, including a lot of Latino voters.”

Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, who appeared alongside Villaraigosa on the program and backs Romney in the race for the White House, acknowledged that the harsh rhetoric on immigration used by some of the GOP candidates has hurt the party’s chances of winning the Latino vote.

“The words sting sometimes, the words that are used around the debate.  And that has turned off Hispanics,” Gutierrez said.

However, he added that President Obama has failed to make good on the “grand promises” he made to Latinos during the 2008 campaign -- promises of sweeping immigration reform if elected.  Instead, Obama never released a comprehensive immigration reform bill and was unable to get Congress to even pass the DREAM Act, a measure to provide a path to citizenship for some children of undocumented immigrants who go to college or serve in the military.

“It’s been three years.  He had the House and the Senate for two years, and nothing has been done,” Gutierrez said. “What has happened is that immigration is being used as a political football.  It’s being used for political tactics.  So Democrats bring out the DREAM Act, just one sliver of the overall immigration piece.  They put things in there, in that bill, that make it impossible to pass. But they’re using it for tactical reasons, for tactical voting reasons. And the people who are paying the price are the Hispanics who have their hopes up for the Democrats to come in and fix these problems, and they’re just using them for tactical election reasons."

Despite Obama’s inaction on immigration reform, Latinos continue to favor the president by wide margins over all of his possible Republican opponents.  According to a new poll released this week by ABC News and Univision, registered Latino voters nationwide would back Obama over Romney by 67 percent to 25 percent.  If Newt Gingrich manages to secure the GOP nomination, Latinos support Obama to an even larger degree: 70 percent to 22 percent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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