October 6 2010
As November 2 approaches, analysts, journalists, and pundits will all try to make guesses about which parties and candidates will fare well in the Midterm Election. Here's one question that's not getting as much attention as it has in years passed: What are Latino voters thinking about this election?
When Hispanics broke more than 2-to-1 for Obama in 2008, Democrats celebrated their dominance of this key, growing voting bloc. Will this trend continue? Yesterday, a Pew Hispanic Center study showed that two-thirds of Hispanic voters again plan to vote for Democrats in Congressional races in 2010. Independent Hispanic voters (not registered with the Democratic or Republican parties) are another story: they say they will vote 48% Republican, 39% Democrat - according to a poll from Independent Women's Voice. A Gallup poll reported just days ago that support for the Democratic Party was waning among Hispanics during August and September, and that their most recent survey showed 51% favored Democrats and 38% Republicans, a significant decline in the Democrats' advantage.
There is one thing that seems to be very clear about Latino voters this midterm season - they're not as engaged. Compared to the voting public in general, Latinos have little interest in Decision 2010. According to the Pew study, only one in three Latino registered voters has given the election "quite a lot of thought," while half of all registered voters have. Half of Latinos said they would cast ballots, compared to an aggregate statistic of about 70 percent.
Those surveyed by the Pew Hispanic Center cited education, jobs, and health care as their issues of highest interest (which are some of IWF's greatest concerns, too). There is much at stake in this November's elections, so the voices and votes of Hispanics (and all Americans!) will be important in shaping the future of these issues and many more.