No, No Puede
During the 2008 election campaign, then-Senator Barack Obama adopted a Spanish language slogan that was co-opted from Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers: “¡Sí se puede!” which roughly translated means the same as his English slogan: “Yes, We Can!”
Let’s examine the state of play (estado de juego) for the Hispanic vote in the 2012 Presidential election.
In 2008, 67 percent of the Hispanic vote went to Senator Obama, while 31 percent went to Senator John McCain. This margin in the Hispanic vote helped Obama win the battleground states of Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico.
|Rank||State||Hisp%||Obama – McCain|
Florida is something of a special case because of its Cuban-American population. Obama earned 35 percent support amongst Cuban-Americans overall, but there is a huge difference amongst different age groups: he got two-thirds of the vote from Cuban-Americans aged under 29, but only one-third from the middle-aged Cuban-Americans (50 to 64) and only one-fifth of the older Cuban-Americans (65+).
Last week, an Investor’s Business Daily / Christian Science Monitor / TIPP poll showed Obama’s support at 80 percent versus Romney’s at 12 percent. A partisan Daily Kos / PPP / SEIU poll showed Obama’s support amongst Hispanics at 72 percent, versus 22 percent for Romney.
Arizona may be in play this election year. Even with native son John McCain on the ballot, and strong Republican tendencies in the recent past, there were merely nine percentage points separating McCain and Obama. Now with McCain out of the race, and immigration policies pushed through by Republican-led legislatures increasingly unpopular amongst Hispanics, the Obama camp believes (or says they believe) that Arizona may swing Democratic this cycle.
Texas is lightly polled, but shows a consistent seven-point (or so) Romney lead in PPP (Democratic-leaning) polling data. Texas may not go Democratic in this Presidential cycle, but if Obama’s field generals can open up another front in Texas, that may drain resources from other states that Romney needs to battle in.
Put another way, 35 of the 101 electoral votes (Florida at 25 and Nevada at six) that Michael rated as a “tossup” in his May 3 Reëlection Watch have a significant Hispanic population. Given that Romney needs to “run the table” amongst the tossup states if he is to win the election, a highly motivated Hispanic voting bloc would be deadly for his chances.
What sort of thing might motivate this bloc? The Supreme Court is due to rule on Arizona’s controversial immigration law. Regardless of which direction the Court votes, the outcome is likely to further solidify the antipathy between Hispanics (at least those who are not aged Cuban-Americans) and the Republican Party. Combined with the antipathy between women and the Republican Party, the makings of a wave election are in place, even if all the elements of the wave are not yet assembled.
- Florida’s crucial Hispanic voters remain wary of Romney (mercurynews.com)
- Immigration stance keeps Hispanics sour on Romney (tcpalm.com)
- In young Cuban-American vote, ideological shift away from GOP shows (tampabay.com)
- Hispanic vote presents electoral map hurdle for Mitt Romney (tampabay.com)
- These Polls Show The Near Impossibility Of Republicans’ Chances With Hispanic Voters This Election (businessinsider.com)
- Obama close to maxing out Hispanic support (politico.com)
- Hispanic voters hold key to 2012 map (politico.com)