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Hispanics could put Obama over the top

The overlooked demographic could be the Democrat’s key to western states

By Chuck Todd
Political Director
NBC News
updated 2:20 p.m. ET, Mon., Oct. 27, 2008


Chuck Todd
Political Director

• Profile

WASHINGTON – If Barack Obama goes on to win the election, there will be plenty of ink and video spent on chronicling the historic nature of the turnout among young voters and African-Americans. 

But as important as both constituencies have been to Obama — particularly in the primaries — it’s Hispanics that could be putting him over the top on Nov. 4.

Obama’s dominance among Hispanics in the West is proving to be the difference maker in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. In addition, the increased numbers of non-Cuban Hispanics in Florida, as well as the growing Hispanic population in North Carolina and Virginia, could be the tipping voting group in those three states.


So how did this happen? When this general election began, there were three pieces of evidence cited to develop the conventional wisdom that Obama would under-perform with Hispanics:

  • He lost Hispanics by very wide margins to Hillary Clinton in the primaries.
  • John McCain’s efforts to fight his party on the issue of immigration, in addition to his Southwestern political roots, would win him votes with Hispanics.
  • Hispanics are perceived to be hesitant to vote for black candidates. Of course, there was only anecdotal evidence of this phenomenon in a few big city mayoral contests.

As it turns out, Clinton won the demographic because she courted them heavily and used Bill Clinton to campaign as a familiar advocate for Hispanics.

As for McCain, despite his best efforts (as well as that of President Bush and Karl Rove), the Republican brand has been tainted, potential for the long-term, due to the negative tone of the immigration debate that took place on conservative talk radio and in the presidential primaries.

In fact, McCain’s immigration stance was so damaging that it is what nearly derailed his candidacy in mid-2007, not Iraq as the campaign sometimes likes to claim.

Read full story here. 



November 3, 2008 - Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , ,

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