Obama’s Re-Election Sets Record for Support From Latino Voters

In his 1996 re-election President Bill Clinton attained 72 percent of the Latino vote, the highest level of Latino support of any presidential candidate—before this year. In 2012, President Obama set a new record, winning his second term in office with the support of 75 percent the Latino electorate. Obama won by deploying three key Latino “firewalls”—that is, a Democratic vote advantage in areas that without the Latino vote could see Republican come out on top—in the West, in new Latino destinations in the South and Midwest, and in Florida—and effectively preventing the GOP from attracting Latinos in critical numbers. The electoral support that the president received, according to the impreMedia/Latino Decisions election eve poll, surpassed what polls even just days before the election indicated. The last weekly tracking poll by impreMedia/Latino Decisions had shown Latino support for the president tying Clinton’s 72 percent. Latino support for President Obama had grown by a full ten percentage points in the last two months of the general campaign. The first impreMedia-Latino Decisions tracking poll showed Latinos supporting the president at levels similar to those of 2008, in the mid to high sixty percent range. But, in the home stretch, the momentum among Latinos culminated in three-quarters of the electorate opting for another four years. What is more striking than the overall level of support is the sky-high levels of support the president received in the Western swing states. In Nevada close to eight out of every ten Latinos voted for the president. In Colorado 87 percent of Latinos did the same. Toward the end of the campaign New Mexico was not considered a swing state, but it is indeed a part of the Western Latino firewall, with 77 percent of the Latino vote going to Obama. And while Arizona was solidly in the Romney column, the rapidly growing Latino electorate overwhelmingly voted for the president, with 79 of Continue Reading

Latino Voters Say Adiós, Romney

The Latino electorate was not one to want for a date this election; both presidential candidates laid it on pretty thick.  President Obama was hoping to harness and build upon his 2008 support and Mitt Romney hoping to channel George W. Bush.  Romney had a lot to make up for coming out of the primaries—like when he suggested undocumented immigrants should be made so “miserable” they would “self-deport”—but could have found a potential opening in Latino frustration at the President’s broken promise of immigration reform. George W. Bush set the gold standard when it comes to GOP Latino outreach.  In 2000 he received 35 percent of the Latino vote and four years later increased that share by close to five percentage points.  Kicking off the general campaign season the Romney camp stated that its goal would be to net 38 percent of the Latino vote, a figure higher than Bush’s first term and way beyond McCain’s 2008 share of 31 percent. Coming into the summer Mitt Romney had a steep climb with Latinos.  His support was in the low 20s—but he figured that time was his friend and he would eventually win them over.  In theory it wasn’t an impossible task.  Romney targeted Latinos who had become disillusioned with President Obama.  His critical pitch was an economic one, highlighting that under the President Latinos fared worst during the recession.  Romney also made sure to remind Latinos of President Obama’s broken immigration promise and the record number of deportations carried out by his administration. Meanwhile, the term self-deportation disappeared from Romney’s general campaign vernacular. On the eve of the conventions, it looked like Romney had gained some traction.  In the first of what would be eleven weekly tracking polls, impreMedia and Latino Decisions found that 26 percent of registered Latinos supported Mitt Romney.  Following Continue Reading

No, Trump didn’t do surprisingly well among Latino voters: Let’s once and for all dispense with that exit-poll-based fiction

Last May 5, Donald J. Trump tweeted a photo of himself seated at his desk, a big grin on his face, his left hand squeezed into a tight fist giving a thumbs up, his lunch balanced in front of him on a stack of newspapers. "Happy #CincoDeMayo," the tweet began, "The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!" The tweet was just one in a string of condescending or offensive statements Trump made towards Latinos during his campaign. Less than a year earlier Trump launched his run calling Mexican Americans criminals and rapists, and soon thereafter kicking Jorge Ramos, Univision's extremely popular news anchor, out of a press conference. "Go back to Univision," he barked. As Ramos left the room, a Trump supporter confronted him insisting that he "get out of (his) country." Many pundits were sure that Trump's rhetoric, as well as his hardline immigration policies, were alienating Latino voters. Yet not only did Trump win the election, the national exit polls conducted by Edison Research found that Trump actually received a larger share of the Latino vote than Mitt Romney did in the 2012 national exit poll (28% for Trump to 27% for Romney). If true, Trump's showing with Latino voters would upend several decades of research on Latino political behavior and fly in the face of pundit predictions. But it's not true —and we can say this with confidence given our in-depth analysis of what happened in New York. While New York is a state typically overlooked by post-election pundits, it's one that contains the fourth largest share of Latinos in the country, and a state that, for the first time in 72 years, both major party candidates called home in 2016. How did New York's Latino population actually vote in this race? Did 23% go for Trump and just 74% for Clinton, as was found in the New York breakout of the 2016 exit poll? Or was Latino Decisions' 2016 Election Eve poll, which found that Clinton beat Trump Continue Reading

Majority of Latino voters believe it’s ‘very or extremely important’ for Congress to pass immigration reform: poll

Nearly three-quarters of Latino voters say it's "very or extremely important" to pass immigration reform in 2014, a new national poll released Tuesday found. "Latino voters are paying close attention and expect Congress to act this year, overwhelmingly," said Matt Barreto, co-founder of research firm Latino Decisions, which conducted the poll for left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress. The new data comes as reform legislation stagnates in the House. President Obama decided to postpone a review of deportation policies because he believes a window still exists this summer to pass a bill. Obama and some fellow Democrats feared that discussing making changes to deportations could interfere with reform's chances in the House. By a 3-to-1 margin, Latinos will blame the GOP if reform doesn't pass, the poll's researchers found. When asked if they had ever voted for a Republican candidate in the past, 49% said yes. "I think what it suggests is that the future of the Republican Party is at stake," said Frank Sharry, executive director of pro-immigration group America's Voice. "If Republicans don't get it right with Latino voters, I think they're heading over the demographic cliff." However, neither party is getting high marks on the issue, found the poll of 800 registered voters. Forty-nine percent strongly or somewhat approve of the job Democrats in Congress are doing handling immigration policy, while 25% approve of how Republicans are acting on reform. Obama's approval rating on immigration policy is 54% among Latinos, the poll found. "For Obama, that's not a runaway approval among Latinos," Barreto said. "Latino voters are frustrated on all fronts." [email protected] Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Republicans now concede: they lost the 2012 Presidential election by not listening to Latino groundswell

To John McCain, Marco Rubio, Lindsay Graham and all those other Republicans who went along with their party’s strategy of adopting an extreme anti-immigration stance during the Presidential primaries season, but now are admitting the stupidity of their ways, I can only say: We told you so. A few days ago Matt Rhoades, Mitt Romney’s campaign manager, speaking at a Harvard University forum, became the last addition to the growing chorus of GOP higher-ups lamenting having delivered, for all practical purposes, thousands of Latino voters to the Obama camp. “I regret that,” Rhoades responded to a New York Times reporter’s question. Given his post in the campaign, which makes him one of the main culprits in the Republican debacle, Rhoades has plenty to be regretful about. He should have known better. After all, many people, us included, warned Republicans time and time again that a strategy based on promising to veto the DREAM Act, offering Arizona’s abusive immigration law as an example to the rest of the country and embracing the repugnant concept of self-deportation would have dire consequences for Romney’s Presidential ambitions. We told them for the first time on June 13: “(ROMNEY’S) extreme anti-immigration positions have generated much fear and more indignation among the Latino community. What this means in practical terms is that, come November, the GOP flag bearer won’t be getting much Hispanic love at the polls.” We told them again on July 29: “Conservative pundit George Will has said that Romney needs at least 31% of the Latino vote to win. If he is right, we can safely say that ‘Mexican Mitt’ (as he is fondly called because of his Mexico-born ancestors) has a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming our first Mexican-American president.” And we told them one more time on Dec. 5: “(HISPANICS) have not forgotten Romney’s extreme Continue Reading

‘Mexican Mitt’ Romney can’t shake the fake in face-off with Latino TV

“Fake tan. Fake fans. Really sad.” That’s how a Facebook friend described Mitt Romney’s (“I wish I were Latino”) latest Hispanic misadventures. The posting was referring to last week’s Univision interview with an unnaturally tanned Republican candidate, which led many to believe that Romney was wearing dark makeup to “identify” with Latinos. After all, as everybody knows, all Latinos have a swarthy complexion. Univision has denied this really happened, but looking at “before” and “after” photos of a Mitt eager to ingratiate himself with Hispanic voters — who overwhelmingly favor Obama — the suspicion remains. The interview, a two-part series titled “Conozca a los candidatos” (Meet the candidates), took place at the University of Miami. It aired on Wednesday and on Thursday it was President Obama’s turn to submit to probing questions from Univision anchors María Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos. But Romney’s campaign stumbled against an unexpected obstacle. By all accounts, even after pleading with every conservative group on campus, the Republican hopeful couldn’t find enough sympathetic students to fill the auditorium, as had been agreed between the network and the candidates. This may come as a surprise to the TV audience who were treated to a room brimming with boisterous Romney supporters who cheered his every word and booed practically every question from Salinas and Ramos. Such a rousing response was, to say the least, a rather rare spectacle, since the GOP standard bearer usually generates as much fervor in his audiences as a dentist’s drill. So when Salinas declared after the interviews that Romney’s campaign had threatened to “reschedule” if it wasn’t allowed to bus in activists and supporters to fill the many empty chairs at the auditorium, the audience’s enthusiasm was revealed Continue Reading

Mitt Romney needs more than Three Amigos from Miami to win over Latino voters

Just in time for Christmas, three Republican ultra-right wing Miami Cuban-American politicians — supposedly great immigrant defenders — showed their true colors by jumping into bed with the most recalcitrant anti-immigrant of all the GOP presidential hopefuls. It was a flip-flop worthy of Mitt Romney himself. Coming to think of it, it was only fitting. After all Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart and former Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart consummated their marriage of convenience when they backed the political aspirations of Romney, who may never become president but has already earned the title of Flip-Flopper in Chief. As recently as 2007 Romney was much more open to immigration solutions and even praised aspects of the McCain-Kennedy comprehensive reform bill. But in his latest incarnation as presidential contender Romney has turned into the immigrants’ public enemy number one. In other words, it wasn’t until Romney announced he was running for president that he became such a hardliner on immigration issues. It was a foolish move that made him into a four-letter word among Latinos. You will probably recall that in one of the first GOP presidential debates Romney attacked Texas Gov. Rick Perry for having offered in-state tuition to undocumented students. More recently, he blasted Newt Gingrich when the former Speaker of the House suggested it would be ...well, hypocritical, for Republicans to sell themselves as the party of family values while proposing a policy of wanton deportations and merciless separation of families. “Look, amnesty is a magnet,” Romney roared. “When we have had in the past, programs that have said that if people who come here illegally are going to get to stay illegally for the rest of their life, that’s going to only encourage more people to come here illegally.” Romney is the same man who in 2006 had undocumented workers tending to his well-manicured garden and told Continue Reading

Viewpoints: Why exit polls are wrong about Latino voters in Arizona

In 2012 Democrats lost the presidential election in Arizona by 9 points, and in 2016 they lost by just four.As data from across the state shows, the Grand Canyon State may be headed for the prized battleground status in 2020 thanks to an overwhelming Democratic vote by Latinos. However, there has been some debate over the true Latino presidential vote, both nationally and in Arizona.National exit polls claimed that 29 percent of Latinos voted for Trump. But the polling firm Latino Decisions conducted an election-eve poll that found Trump only garnered 18 percent of the Latino vote. In Arizona, exit polls reported 61 percent of Latinos voted for Clinton and 31 percent for Trump, while Latino Decisions reported a much larger Democratic advantage of 84 to 12 percent in favor of Clinton in Arizona.A few other analysts have recently looked at county voting patterns, but with 2.6 million voters and just 15 counties in Arizona, county-level data is inadequate and results in what sociologist William Robinson called the “ecological fallacy.”Smaller units such as precincts are greatly preferable for accurately inferring voting patterns. Thus, we gathered data for 1,288 of 1,469 precincts across the state and found it's statistically unlikely that 61 percent of Latinos voted for Clinton. Instead, we found strong evidence that over 80 percent of Latinos in Arizona voted for Clinton, a number much closer to the Latino Decisions estimate. ROBB: Is Maricopa County turning blue?Part of the reason exit poll findings differ from Latino Decisions’ findings is because of the different methods used by the pollsters. While exit polls are useful to assess views of the whole electorate, the survey’s methods are not designed to accurately assess Latino voters in a state.By their own admission, the pollsters behind exit polls admit that their approach is “not designed to yield very reliable estimates of the characteristics of small, geographically Continue Reading

John McCain, Ann Kirkpatrick battle for Arizona’s Latino voters in Senate race

John McCain and Ann Kirkpatrick, rivals in Arizona's U.S. Senate race, are battling each other to attract support from a growing number of Latino voters who could swing a tight race to either candidate.McCain, the five-term Republican incumbent, has been running radio and digital ads in Spanish that tout his efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform. McCain helped write the 2013 "Gang of Eight" bill, passed by the Senate, that attempted to balance a pathway to citizenship for most of the country's undocumented immigrants with a massive border-security investment and a revamped visa system.Kirkpatrick, a three-term Democratic U.S. representative from Flagstaff, also has been running ads in Spanish. They accuse McCain of turning his back on Latinos by supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.Trump is a fierce opponent of illegal immigration who at various times in his campaign has advocated for mass deportation. He offended many by characterizing Mexicans coming into the United States without authorization as rapists and drug-runners.The Arizona race effects larger national challenges for both Republicans and Democrats.Kirkpatrick needs overwhelming Hispanic support to unseat McCain. But she is not well-known among Latinos, and her campaign could be hurt if they remain less than enthused about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and stay home in November. MORE: Latinos spurred to vote by Trump's pledge for a wallPresident Barack Obama received 79 percent of the Latino vote in Arizona in 2012, according to a 2014 Latino Decisions report. A recent Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News poll found that 45.3 percent of Hispanic voters planned to vote for Clinton, 14.6 percent for Trump and 29.8 percent were undecided.Meanwhile, down-ticket Republicans are worried Trump could drive Latinos away from Republican candidates, even those like McCain who has Continue Reading

Growing signs that Latinos will jam polls for midterm elections on Nov. 2

Will Latinos vote en masse in Tuesday's midterm election or are they so disillusioned by unfulfilled promises and empty rhetoric they will simply stay home instead of exercising their right? The question is relevant because, come Election Day, their votes could decide the outcome of several key races. A recent national poll from the Pew Research Center found that a sizable majority of Latinos support the Democrats - also the case in New York - but they are unlikely to turn out in huge numbers on Tuesday. However, despite the fact that midterm elections historically attract fewer voters than presidential contests, local community groups disagree with the Pew finding and cite a new poll supporting their contention. Latino Decisions, a research firm, found that the level of enthusiasm among Hispanic voters has risen from 40% to 60% in the past month, which means that, like it or not, Latinos are poised to play a significant electoral role. "Community organizations are working hard to make sure Latinos understand why this election is important to them," said Valeria Trevers, executive director of the New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), a Jackson Heights-based, nonpartisan group. Last Thursday, NICE and eight other groups, including Alianza Ecuatoriana, Desis Rising Up and Moving, the New York Immigration Coalition, and the Queens Community House gathered at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights. Dubbed the Northwest Queens Coalition of Immigrant Organizations, the groups held a forum aimed at creating a pro-immigrant platform for the 39th Assembly District race, in which Democrat José Moya is vying for the seat José Peralta vacated with his election to the state Senate. Judging by the forum attendance, Latino participation in the upcoming election should be substantial. "We feel it is crucial that the candidate elected is someone who understands our community needs and is willing to work with our communities," said the coalition in a Continue Reading