Gauging the Latino vote

Democrats had worried about Barack Obama's appeal to the rapidly expanding demographic, but a recent poll shows he may not have much to worry about.

By Alex Koppelman
Published June 13, 2008 7:13PM (EDT)

Here's my latest video for our partners at Current. In it, I discuss voting trends among Latinos in the U.S. -- they're the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, and as such, both parties badly want to capture Latino voters. Republican strategists, especially, have reason to worry; they're concerned that if they're not able to stem the tide, Latinos will become as loyal to the Democratic Party as African-Americans are.

There had been some concern among Democrats that, given his poor showing with Latinos in the primaries, Barack Obama might have trouble with the demographic in the general election. That concern has been heightened because John McCain will be representing the Republican Party, and in his party he may be the best candidate for appealing to the Latino community.

But a recent poll, conducted by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News, may help put those fears to rest. It showed that Obama currently leads McCain among Latinos, 62 percent to 28 percent. By comparison, according to exit polling, in 2004 John Kerry beat George W. Bush in the demographic 53-44.

One reason for the lack of support for McCain among Latinos may be that the GOP is essentially an anchor tied to his ankle. The party's base has been decidedly anti-immigration, and its tone and rhetoric in 2006 seems to have turned Latinos off.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama John Mccain R-ariz.