Latino vote critical to President Obama’s victory

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

No matter how you look at exit poll data for the 2012 election, there is no question that Latinos helped to decisively determine its outcome. Kathleen Geier writes at the Political Animal blog, The growing power of the Latino vote:

Where the Latino vote is concerned, Barack Obama crushed Mitt Romney.
CNN’s exit poll shows Obama winning 71% of that vote, and the polling
organization Latino Decisions measured even bigger gains for Obama,
showing that Obama beat Romney by a whopping 75% to 23% among Latinos
.
In the electoral college, the Latino vote was crucial to Obama,
particularly in the battleground states of Colorado and Nevada, which Obama won, and Florida (which, as of this writing, is undecided).

These results are part of a long, and from the Republican point of
view, worrisome trend. According to official exit polls, Republican
presidential candidates won 44% of the Latino vote in 2004, 31% in 2008, and 27% in 2012. Moreover, Latinos are continuing to grow as a share of the electorate: they were 8% of voters in 2004, 9% in 2008, and 10% in 2012.

* * *

It’s not merely that the G.O.P. has become the anti-immigrant party;
the G.O.P.’s economic message does not appeal to Latinos either. Polls
of Latino voters show that the economy is their top concern, with immigration a distant second. Latinos tend to find Democratic policies far more appealing; by wide margins, they like Obamacare and disagree with a Republican-style, slash-spending-only approach to the deficit.

Beyond that, there is good reason to believe that Latino voters’
alienation from the G.O.P. goes deeper than their dislike of the
G.O.P.’s positions on immigration and the economy. Republican policies
such as Arizona’s infamous show-me-your-papers law and the ban, also courtesy of Arizona, on Mexican-American studies classes have a very obvious, and very nasty, racist intent and impact.

In addition, the racist treatment
Republicans meted out to historic Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
will not soon be forgotten by Latinos. Latinos have also seen the
nonstop parade of racism
Republicans have directed against Barack Obama over the past four
years, and surely they know that the white Republicans who judge Obama
by his skin color are likely to feel similarly about Latinos. Republican
racism may be a key reason why Latinos report they were quite
enthusiastic about voting this time around, even more so than in 2008.

Finally, on top of the nastily racist policies and actions of the
Republicans, there’s also the fact that the G.O.P. doesn’t even bother
trying to court the Latino vote any more.

* * *

Latinos, like most humans, know when they’re not wanted. And since the
Republicans don’t show any signs — yet — of wanting to invite anyone
except white people, and preferably white people who older, male,
married, and Christian at that, to their Grand Old Party, Latinos are
likely to continue to flock to the Democrats en masse. For as long as
that continues to happen, the Republicans will need all the luck they
can get if they wish to become America’s majority party.

UPDATE: The New York Times reports, A Record Latino Turnout, Solidly Backing Obama:

Defying predictions that their participation would be lackluster, Latinos turned out in record numbers on Tuesday and voted for President Obama
by broad margins, tipping the balance in at least three swing states
and securing their position as an organized force in American politics
with the power to move national elections.

Over all, according to exit polls not yet finalized by Edison Research,
Mr. Obama won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote while Mitt Romney won 27
percent. The gap of 44 percentage points was even greater than Mr.
Obama’s 36-point advantage over John McCain in 2008.

After waiting in long lines in countless places — more than four hours
at some South Florida polls — Latinos had such a strong turnout that it
lifted them to 10 percent of voters nationwide.

However –

In Arizona, a conservative state known for tough immigration enforcement
policies that Mr. Romney won handily, Latinos saw setbacks. A bid to
unseat Joe Arpaio, the hard-line sheriff of Maricopa County, was
declared to have failed. A Hispanic Democrat, Richard Carmona,
apparently was defeated in a Senate race by Jeff Flake, a popular
Republican who has served in the House of Representatives.

Records from the office of Secretary of State Ken Bennett showed
Wednesday that there were 600,000 votes yet to be counted statewide.

Luis Heredia, the executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party,
said the outcome of many close races could not be determined without the
counting of those ballots.

* * *

In Arizona, a dozen groups teamed up to increase Latino voter
registration and to add more Latinos to the state’s early-voting list,
which entitles voters to receive ballots by mail at their homes. The
number of Latinos on early-voting lists rose substantially, to 225,000
this year from 96,000 in 2008, said Petra Falcón, director of Promise
Arizona, one of the groups in that effort.

On Tuesday, the groups dispatched monitors to poll sites where they knew
many Latino voters would be casting ballots for the first time.

By midmorning, it had become clear that a lot of them were being forced
to cast provisional ballots because officials could not find their names
on the rolls. In a precinct in Tolleson, 300 out of 342 votes cast by 4
p.m. were provisional ballots, according to poll monitors assigned to
the site.
At Word of Abundant Life Christian Center in West Phoenix, 68
out of 123 voters had used provisional ballots by that hour.

Adilene Montesinos, a poll worker at Progressive Baptist Church in Mesa,
said the problem had affected Latinos and also blacks. “There were so
many, we almost ran out of provisional ballots
,” Ms. Montesinos said.

Officials in Maricopa County, which accounts for more than half of the
state’s voters, said the count of provisional ballots was not likely to
begin until Monday. The officials said Wednesday that 344,000 ballots
remained to be counted, among them 115,000 provisional ballots.

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