The Latino Vote

By: Inoljt,

They're considered a minority in the United States, composing a rapidly growing sub-set of the population. The majority are immigrants; public sentiment, aroused by nativism, is sometimes hostile towards them. They vote heavily Democratic, but because many are immigrants they turn-out in numbers not as great as the share of the population they compose.

I'm not talking about Latinos. I'm talking about white Catholics in the early 20th century.

Today, Democrats hope that the Latino vote will be an essential part of a permanent majority, the keys to an unyielding period of Democratic dominance. Latinos were a major part of Obama's victory in states such as Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado. They've turned California blue for the foreseeable future. Red states Arizona and Texas are home to millions of Latinos, who represent a threat to the Republican character of those two states. Opportunity beckons.

Or so it seems.

In reality, however, it seems that the path of the Latino vote is the same as that of the white Catholic vote.

More below the flip.

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When abortion polls promote misperceptions

With all of the attention given to the Pew poll's recent finding that support for abortion has declined, one key point gets lost: the question of whether the country should "keep abortion legal" does little to explain the views of a majority of Americans.  According to Pew's survey, over eight in ten Americans do not want to outlaw abortion; for most of them, circumstances are what matters.

When Pew released its numbers this week asserting that support has dropped for abortion because 47% of the public now says abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while  45% says it should be illegal in all or most cases (down from 54-40 a year ago), it reinforced the misperception that abortion opinions are two dimensional.  At BRS, we learned a while ago that opinions on abortion are not bipolar - yes/no - but rather on a continuum, based on how restrictive people want to be.

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TIME Magazine Story Highlights Moral Crisis in Vieques

By: Eric Sapp

What would you do if you found out that people in your neighborhood had a 30% higher cancer rate, 25% higher infant mortality rate, and 95% higher cirrhosis of the liver rate than the surrounding area?  Then you found out that hair sample surveys of your neighbors showed that 34% of the population have toxic levels of mercury, 55% are contaminated with lead, 69% with arsenic, 69% with cadmium, 90% with aluminum, and 93% with antimony.  What would you do?  What would you expect your government to do?

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McCain in trouble with Hispanic evangelicals

In todays Politico article
The McCain-Latino disconnect one section stood out that I'd like to explore.

McCain's problem looks to be most pronounced among Protestant Latinos, who had seemed to be the GOP's doorway into the Hispanic population. From 2000 to 2004, Protestant Latinos increased their share of the total Hispanic electorate from 25 percent to 32 percent, in large part because of Bush's evangelical outreach and strategic microtargeting of the community. Even as turnout increased, support for Bush among the group rose from 44 percent in 2000 to 56 percent in 2004.

The Pew poll, however, shows that only a third of Protestant or Evangelical Hispanics intend to vote for McCain, while 59 percent support Obama -- who also enjoys a 50-percentage-point lead among Catholic Latinos, long a solid bloc of the Democratic coalition.

While McCain and Bush have similar views on most social issues, including abortion, McCain's candidacy may mark a return to an era of blue-blooded Republicans less vocal about their religious beliefs. Barack Obama, by contrast, speaks comfortably and frequently about his faith.

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Catholic Voters Swing Away from the GOP

Back in 2004, exit polling indicated that George W. Bush carried the Catholic vote by a 52 percent to 47 percent margin, one of the keys to his successful reelection effort. In 2006, the Catholic vote swung to the Democrats, with Catholic voters backing Democratic congressional candidates by a 55 percent to 44 percent margin. Much of that swing came from Hispanic voters, who upped their support for the Democrats by 10 to 15 points; the White Catholic vote split 50 percent for the Democrats and 49 percent for the Republicans that fall according to exit polling. So will the Catholic vote continue to be split relatively evenly between the parties? New polling from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University (.pdf) indicates that Catholic voters are less likely to identify as Republican today than they have been at any other point this decade.

According to the CARA poll, just 21 percent of Catholic voters -- just one in five -- self-identify as Republican, down 10 percentage points from 2004. When leaners are thrown in, the Democratic advantage among American Catholics is a remarkable 60 percent to 36 percent. Nearly seven in ten Hispanic Catholics (69 percent) either identify or lean towards identifying with the Democrats while just 29 percent do so with the Republicans. And White Catholics, who as noted above split almost exactly evenly in 2006, identify as or lean towards the Democrats by a 52 percent to 40 percent margin.

At present, it appears that much of the movement has been away from the Republican Party rather than towards the Democratic Party. While the Democrats' numbers have held strong, the Republicans' numbers among Catholics have simply tanked since President Bush won reelection. It is for this reason, among others, that some have mentioned the name Jack Reed, a progressive Senator from Rhode Island who happens to be of the Catholic faith, or other leading Catholic Democrats like Tim Kaine, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, Joe Biden, and Bill Richardson (Update [2008-6-23 23:54:9 by Jonathan Singer]: And don't let me forget Kathleen Sebelius, who is also Catholic, as well as Wes Clark), as a potential running mate for Barack Obama.

But regardless of whom Obama decides to tap to join him on the Democratic ticket in 2008, one thing is clear: the Democrats have a great opportunity to pick up a whole swath of votes from Catholic voters disenchanted with the Republican Party and would be well served working to cultivate votes among this demographic.

(You can check out more on the poll from Marc Ambinder.)

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