Democrats Have The Latino Vote in Midterm Elections, Study Reports
October 5, 2010 By Alison Bowen
NEW YORK — Latino support leans toward the Democratic Party ahead of November, a new report shows.
The Pew Hispanic Center study released Tuesday shows that two thirds of registered Latino voters plan to vote for Democrats in their local elections, saying that Democrats in office are better for Latinos.
They also continue to grab a larger share of the electorate – in 2004, Latinos were 6 percent of all voters, but in 2008, they made up 7.4 percent.
The energy for Democrats follows a wave of support for President Barack Obama in 2008 – he won 67 percent of Latino voters – after many previously supported former president George W. Bush, a border state governor.
One problem that might stymie a Democratic majority, is that the Center reports that Hispanic voters seem less motivated to actually vote.
“Latino registered voters are less likely than all U.S. registered voters to say they are absolutely certain they will vote,” the report said.
Half of all U.S. registered voters said they’ve given “quite a lot” of thought to the November elections, but only 32 percent of Latino voters said the same.
Only three of ten registered Latino voters who’ve thought a lot about the election planned to vote for a Republican candidate, the report said.
More foreign-born Latinos identified with the Democratic Party, with 69 percent of those born elsewhere considering themselves Democrats, compared to 59 percent of those native born.
Within the Latino electorate, most likely to vote were people ages 50 to 64 and those that were college educated and English speakers.
The Center also analyzed the impact of Arizona’s controvesial immigration bill earlier this year, which required police to ask criminal suspects about their immigration status.
Latino voters maintained that immigration wasn’t a top voting issue, instead expressing concerns about education, jobs and health care. Immigration came fifth on registered voters’ lists of concerns and fourth when surveying all Latinos.
Also, the report found that Latinos strongly support Obama, but diverge when asked how his administration’s policies impact them.
About half say the policies don’t affect them, but the rest are split – 26 percent say they’ve helped, and 13 percent consider them harmful.
In comparison, in 2007, 41 percent of Latinos said President Bush’s policies hurt them and 16 percent said they were helpful.
In New York, a coalition of grassroots groups are planning a community forum tomorrow (Oct. 6) to discuss one initiative expanded under Obama, Secure Communities. This is a program that requires police agencies to forward arrestees’ fingerprints to check for immigration status.
“We cannot let this program take place in our city, for it will lead to detentions and deportations that will destabilize our communities,” New York City Councilman Daniel Dromm said in a press release.
Photo: Messay Photography @ Flickr.
About Alison Bowen
Alison is a Missouri native and New York City freelance writer who has wanted to cover Latin America since studying Spanish in Central America. After moving to Brooklyn, her work has appeared in The New York Times, the Daily News, the Manhattan Times and Women’s eNews. She earned a master’s degree in journalism and Latin American and Caribbean studies at New York University. Her thesis focused on immigration policies after September 11, including counterterrorism measures, and their effects on the daily lives of immigrants in New York City.