McCain campaign failing to attract Latino support

It looks like Latinos are going to vote in great numbers for Barack Obama on Nov. 4.  I have been warning the Republicans that their actions and words were going to cost them Latino support for awhile – but they just won’t listen.  “Sen. McCain received 65 percent of the Latino vote in his 1998 re-election in Arizona, and 70 percent of the Latino vote in 2004. Yet, by all indications, he will be lucky to break 25 percent in the presidential election,” according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

Here are a few choice excerpts from the article in question:

Of the 10 battleground states typically cited by pundits, four have significant Hispanic populations: Florida, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada. There are signs that the McCain campaign has surrendered in Colorado and New Mexico, and is concentrating on Florida and Nevada.

A recent Zogby poll of Latino likely voters nationwide found that only 21 percent of Latino voters support McCain, while 70 percent support Barack Obama.

McCain acknowledged that Republicans in Congress hurt the party’s brand with Latino voters with “language and rhetoric that…made Latino citizens believe that we were anti-Latino.”

Republicans have made some dumb mistakes, and Democrats have capitalized on them.

And here are a few excerpts from a similar article that appeared recently in the New York Times:

Recent Gallup polls show Mr. McCain running far behind Senator Barack Obama among Hispanic voters nationwide, only 26 percent of whom favor the Republican. The possibility that Mr. McCain can duplicate George W. Bush’s performance among Latinos in 2004, when Republicans won 44 percent of the vote, now seems remote.

In an echo of his overall slide in the polls, some of the issues that have hampered Mr. McCain’s candidacy turn out to have had an even greater impact on the Hispanic population. Latinos cite the crisis in the economy as their biggest concern, trumping immigration and the social conservatism that Republicans thought would help expand Mr. McCain’s appeal among religious, family-oriented Hispanic voters.

And if Republicans were counting on tensions between blacks and Latinos, now the nation’s largest minority, driving Hispanic voters away from Mr. Obama, that also has largely failed to materialize.

“The McCain campaign was never set up in a way that spoke to Hispanics,” said Matthew Dowd, Mr. Bush’s senior strategist in 2004. “Throughout the entire primary, there was no conversation because they thought that was not where the election was. You can’t start to campaign in September for the general election among Hispanics. They are very frustrated with Bush and the Republicans, so McCain has a bigger hurdle to overcome.”

But events seem to be working in Mr. Obama’s favor. Contrary to what non-Hispanic politicians often assume, immigration does not rank as high on the list of Hispanic concerns as the economy, education and health care.

Instead, surveys show that Latinos see immigration as a tool useful in identifying who is friend and who is foe. That may have complicated Mr. McCain’s task: despite his sponsorship of the immigration overhaul legislation, he is burdened by nativist elements within the Republican Party.

“The Republican brand has been tarnished as result of the immigration debate and the extreme rhetoric that came out of that debate,” said Janet Murguía, executive director of the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group. “We think McCain remains an advocate of a comprehensive approach, but his standing has been undermined by those within his own party and the tough immigration plank in the 2008 Republican platform.”

But independent political analysts point to what they say are basic flaws in Mr. McCain’s Hispanic strategy. Republicans “can talk all they want about abortion and same-sex marriage, but survey after survey tells us that even among socially conservative Hispanics, it’s the other issues that matter most,” said Christine M. Sierra, a professor of political science at the University of New Mexico.

“We need change, so the fact that Obama is not an Anglo appeals to me,” she said. “He understands what discrimination is about, and if he gets in there and does a good job, that will make it easier for all the rest of us, whether black, Hispanic or Indian, to get past that problem.”

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.