Latinos vote in record numbers in 2008 listen11/13/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Latinos in the U.S. took into consideration harsh rhetoric about undocumented immigrants, and that played a part in their strong support of Barack Obama in last weekâ€™s election.
That was the message issued by a group of officials in Washington today.
Frank Sharry, executive director of Americaâ€™s Voice, a relatively new organization advocating for comprehensive immigration reform, said that has been a lack of political will by Washington-based elected officials. He blamed it on faulty conventional wisdom.
Sharry said his organization hired two pollsters to look at how immigration played with voters nationally, and in key battleground states and congressional districts.
Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza, repeated the main questions that were asked of Latino voters this year: would they turn out to vote? Would they vote for a black candidate? And would that vote make a difference?
Murguia said the answer to all those questions was a resounding yes. Though issues like the economy took precedence with Latinos as they did with overwhelming majority of voters, to say that immigration was not a priority, would be a misreading of the Latino community, she said.
David Mermin is a pollster with Lake Research Partners. He surveyed 1,000 voters from Wednesday through Sunday - and said every part of conventional wisdom about immigration was wrong.
A different poll looking at the immigration issue taken by pollster Pete Brodnitz found that 14 pro-reform candidates beat hardliners in 16 battleground House races. And he said five Senate Reform candidates beat hardliners in battleground races, in Colorado, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Oregon.
Simon Rosenberg is a Democratic Party political consultant with the New Democratic Network. In his view, the only issue that George W. Bush proposed that had bipartisan support in the House was for comprehensive immigration, which went down soundly went voted on in 2007.
But Rosenberg said the 2008 election, exemplified by Barack Obamaâ€™s electoral success, has put a cap on the so-called Southern Strategy employed by Richard Nixon and the Republican Party in the 1960s of exploiting racial fear to win national elections.
And Rosenberg said that if Democrats appeal to Latinos and win those states, like Obama did this year, it could permanently tip the Electoral College for the Democrats for a generation to come.
For more information on these polls, go to americaâ€™svoiceonline.org.