“President Barack Obama is hoping his visit to Puerto Rico will shore up the Hispanic vote for Democrats, but more importantly for his 2012 re-election bid.
The media choir has been singing a similar tune, especially since the U.S. Census Bureau recently released a new report, “The Hispanic Population: 2010,” which documents the disproportionately large growth in the Hispanic population.
According to the 2010 Census, there were 308.7 million people residing in the U.S. on April 1, 2010, of which 50.5 million (16 percent) were of Hispanic or Latino origin.
In addition, the Bureau asserted, “More than half of the growth in the total population of the United States between 2000 and 2010 was due to the increase in the Hispanic population.” Since Hispanics tend to vote Democratic—67 percent for Obama in 2008, according to a post-election poll cited in the New York Times—the Obama campaign thinks that growth could swing important states to the president.
That thinking is as wishful, and deluded, as the happy talk that surrounded the president’s economic policies and “shovel-ready” stimulus efforts that were going to get the country working again. Here’s why.
People ≠ Voters — That New York Times story pointed out that only 10 million Latinos voted in the 2008 election, 9 percent of all voters, and that was a record high. Why so low? For one thing, the Hispanic population is younger than the general population: 27.4 years was the median age for Hispanics in 2009, vs. 36.8 years for the U.S. Younger ages are less likely to vote, and a disproportionately large percentage of Hispanics aren’t even of voting age.
Another important point: No one knows how many of those 50 million Hispanics are citizens eligible to vote. The Census counts people in the U.S., not citizens. Someone from the Bureau told me that interviewers do not ask about citizenship nor do they record citizenship status. There has been a groundswell of Hispanics entering the U.S. over the last decade, some legally but many not, which has led to a huge national debate over immigration. How many of the 15.2 million more Hispanics (between 2000 and 2010) are eligible to vote? We simply don’t know from Census surveys, but it’s reasonable to think that many, and perhaps most, can’t—at least not legally.
The Electoral College Decides — The Electoral College, not the popular vote, decides who will be president. If none of those 50 million new Hispanics lived in California, President Obama would likely get all of the state’s 55 electoral votes; if all of them lived in California—and the largest number do—and they all vote for Obama he would still get … 55 electoral votes.
So the question for presidential election purposes is as much about where those votes are as how many there are. The Census Bureau says 75 percent of the Hispanic population is located in eight states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Arizona, New Jersey and Colorado. Of those states, California, New York, Illinois and New Jersey will very likely remain blue in the next presidential election, while Texas and Arizona will almost certainly remain red. Colorado, which has been trending blue, and Florida, which leans red but not by much, could be swayed.
Of the nine states where the Hispanic population more than doubled—Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and South Dakota—eight are in the south and all but one, Maryland, either lean or are strongly red.
The point is that a burgeoning Hispanic population may lead to a major shift in voting patterns at some point in the future, but not 2012. That said, there are some important swing states—e.g., Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Colorado—that could be affected by Hispanic votes next year.
Hispanics Are Diverse — The Census Bureau struggles with identifying a “Hispanic” since it is not a race, but more a place of origin, such as Central or South America or countries located in the Caribbean. Needless to say, there are lots of differences among these populations. Puerto Ricans living on the mainland, for example, tend to vote Democratic; those of Cuban descent tend to vote Republican. But the largest Puerto Rican population is in New York, which will vote for Obama anyway. In swing-state Florida, however, Cubans outnumber Puerto Ricans by 400,000.
Hispanics Are More Affected by a Bad Economy — A lot has been made of the notion that the Hispanic population, many of whom are Catholic, tend to embrace conservative social values but liberal economic policies. And those conservative social values give Republicans an opportunity to attract them to the GOP.
But the real opportunity for the GOP to get their presidential vote in 2012 comes from the devastating impact President Obama’s economic policies have had on lower-income families. Texas, where I live, has the second largest Hispanic population; they come mostly from Mexico and Central America, according to the Census. Most are hard workers who take service sector jobs in agriculture, construction, yard and landscape work, and restaurants. When the economy goes south, they are some of the first and hardest hit.
Those who are citizens and can vote may decide that Obama has had his chance. The recession officially ended in June of 2009, yet two years later the unemployment rate at 9.1 percent is still disastrously high—and much higher for Hispanics. Even more troubling, the president seems befuddled about what to do next.
Of course, Obama may still get more Hispanic votes than his Republican challenger, but that doesn’t mean he wins; Sen. John Kerry won the Hispanic vote over President Bush in 2004 by 9 percentage points, and Bush still won. But there is little reason to think, both for demographic reasons and the sour economy, that Hispanics will provide Obama with a victory in 2012.
However, the Census Bureau publication does point to a trend that neither party can ignore. Hispanics are becoming a larger and more politically potent force in U.S. politics. The party that moves to provide them with the greatest opportunities, not the most handouts, is the one that will capture their allegiance for the long term.
- Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas, Texas. http://twitter.com/MerrillMatthews”
Note: The following articles and/or blog posts relate to this issue-You Decide:
I. Obama’s Hispanic Vote Slipping Away!
Posted on Front Page Magazine-By Tait Trussell-On Jun 17, 2011:
“Buenas Tardes” (good afternoon). Barack Obama greeted a crowd of Puerto Ricans in Spanish in San Juan on a presidential visit intended to shore up support of roughly 4.6 million Puerto Ricans who live on the mainland. The Puerto Ricans on the island can’t vote for president even though they’re U.S. citizens.
The Obama campaign machine is striving desperately to recapture the Hispanic vote. In 2008, Obama won 67 percent of the Hispanic voters nationally. The president’s failure to enact an immigration law and vigorously crack down on undocumented workers, however, has caused his glamour to tarnish a bit. A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll in late March found that his Latino support had slid to 60 percent.
As of July 2009, 48.4 million people of Hispanic origin lived in the U.S. Today, it’s 50.5 million, the country’s largest ethnic or race minority.
During his welcoming ceremony in San Juan, Obama tried to scrape together Hispanic favor by saying that he would support whatever decision the Island makes about statehood—a long standing dispute over statehood or independence.
The recession has hit Puerto Rico like a small hurricane. The jobless rate is 17 percent, compared to the latest unemployment figure for the U.S. of 9.1 percent. Referring to unemployment, Obama, in a lame statement, said, “These problems didn’t develop overnight here in Puerto Rico or anywhere else, but that means we’re not going to solve them overnight. But day by day, step by step, we will solve them.”
Obama flew to Puerto Rico from campaign stops in North Carolina and Florida to play up to more Latinos. North Carolina has about 380,000 Hispanics. In Florida there are about 840,000 Puerto Ricans.
While the Democrats have the Hispanic vote for 2012 in their headlights, some disconcerting facts that are not well known should dampen their enthusiasm. Despite the overly rapid growth of Latinos, many are far too young to vote. More than a third of Latinos (34.9 percent) are now below the voting age of 18, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
Hispanics comprise 22 percent of all U.S. children younger than 18. Some 43 percent of married couples who are Hispanic have children under age 18. Twenty percent of all elementary and high school students combined are Hispanic. They won’t be voting any time soon.
While 67 percent of eligible Hispanics voted for Obama in 2008, voter turnout of Latinos lags behind whites (48.6 percent), and 44 percent of eligible blacks. That compares to less than a third (31.2 percent ) of eligible Latino voters who said they voted. Only 42 percent of the Latino population — for one reason or another — is eligible to vote. Among Latinos who go to the polls, those age 18 to 28 had the lowest turnout—17.5 percent. Obama’s glory seems to be disappearing among youthful worshipers.
In 2010, the Hispanic electoral tidal wave dissipated. Latino voters, along with Asian voters, mainly avoided the 2010 election. A record 14.7 million Hispanic voters, in effect, sat on their hands for the 2010 race, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. The absence from the ballot boxes of so many Hispanic voters hurt many Democrats.
Fewer than 31 percent of eligible Hispanic and Asian voters went to the polls in the 2010 congressional elections, compared with 49 percent of eligible white voters and 44 percent of eligible black voters, the Pew report said.
The picture of minority voting comes in the wake of a poll showing the support for Obama among Latinos down by more than 25 percent from what it was at the start of his administration, should send shivers up Democratic spines—even of those who are spineless on many issues.
More signs that the Obama “spell” is fading: After winning 67% of the Latino vote in 2008, only 43 percent of Hispanics polled by Univision—the Spanish language TV network in the U.S.– at the end of last July said Obama has addressed their needs. Another 32 percent indicated they were uncertain, while 21 percent said they believe Obama has done a poor job.
A meeting of Republicans in South Florida aimed at extending the GOP’s outreach to Latino voters was co-chaired by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. The conference was organized by the new Hispanic Action Network. It is one of a number of Republican efforts to influence Latino voters before the 2012 election.
CNN reported in 2010 that 38 percent of Hispanic voters cast ballots for Republican candidates, compared to only 29 percent in 2008.
Significantly, Republican Susana Martinez was elected governor of New Mexico (46 percent Hispanic population), Brian Sandoval became governor of Nevada (27 percent Hispanic population) and Marco Rubio won the U.S. Senate race in Florida (23 percent Hispanic).
Exit polls indicated that 38 percent of Latino voters voted for House Republican candidates in 2010. This “despite pre-election claims by advocates for illegal immigration that a pro-rule-of-law stand would alienate Hispanic voters,” wrote Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) June 2 in Politico.
Five Hispanic Republicans were elected to the House.
“They focused on patriotism, rule of law, freedom, family, support for small business, jobs, and education,” Smith wrote.
Most of these are fundamental values from which President Obama has distanced himself.
II. 64,000 Cases of Possible Voter Fraud Being Investigated in New Mexico!-Posted on CNSNews.com-By Susan Jones-On June 15, 2011:
III. Despite Congressional Leader's Claim, Requiring an ID to Vote is Nothing Like Forced Segregation!-Posted on The Center for Public Policy Research-On June 7, 2011:
V. ‘White House officials involved in rewriting nation’s founding document’!-Posted on WND.com-By Aaron Klein-On March 27, 2011:
Note: My following blog posts contain numerous articles and/or blog posts and videos that relate to this issue-You Decide:
Massive Voter Fraud-Again!
Court overturns Arizona’s proof of citizenship requirement for voter registration!
Is it important to understand the Marxist assault on the foundations of our system?
Note: If you have a problem viewing any of the listed blog posts please copy web site and paste it on your browser. Be aware that some of the articles and/or blog posts or videos listed within the contents of the above blog post(s) may have been removed by this administration because they may have considered them to be too controversial. Sure seems like any subject matter that may shed some negative light on this administration is being censored-What happened to free speech?-You Decide.
“Food For Thought”
God Bless the U.S.A.!