Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
No matter how you look at exit poll data for the 2012 election, there is no question that Latinos helped to decisively determine its outcome. Kathleen Geier writes at the Political Animal blog, The growing power of the Latino vote:
Where the Latino vote is concerned, Barack Obama crushed Mitt Romney. CNN’s exit poll shows Obama winning 71% of that vote, and the polling organization Latino Decisions measured even bigger gains for Obama, showing that Obama beat Romney by a whopping 75% to 23% among Latinos. In the electoral college, the Latino vote was crucial to Obama, particularly in the battleground states of Colorado and Nevada, which Obama won, and Florida (which, as of this writing, is undecided).
These results are part of a long, and from the Republican point of view, worrisome trend. According to official exit polls, Republican presidential candidates won 44% of the Latino vote in 2004, 31% in 2008, and 27% in 2012. Moreover, Latinos are continuing to grow as a share of the electorate: they were 8% of voters in 2004, 9% in 2008, and 10% in 2012.
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It’s not merely that the G.O.P. has become the anti-immigrant party; the G.O.P.’s economic message does not appeal to Latinos either. Polls of Latino voters show that the economy is their top concern, with immigration a distant second. Latinos tend to find Democratic policies far more appealing; by wide margins, they like Obamacare and disagree with a Republican-style, slash-spending-only approach to the deficit.
Beyond that, there is good reason to believe that Latino voters’ alienation from the G.O.P. goes deeper than their dislike of the G.O.P.’s positions on immigration and the economy. Republican policies such as Arizona’s infamous show-me-your-papers law and the ban, also courtesy of Arizona, on Mexican-American studies classes have a very obvious, and very nasty, racist intent and impact.
In addition, the racist treatment Republicans meted out to historic Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will not soon be forgotten by Latinos. Latinos have also seen the nonstop parade of racism Republicans have directed against Barack Obama over the past four years, and surely they know that the white Republicans who judge Obama by his skin color are likely to feel similarly about Latinos. Republican racism may be a key reason why Latinos report they were quite enthusiastic about voting this time around, even more so than in 2008.
Finally, on top of the nastily racist policies and actions of the Republicans, there’s also the fact that the G.O.P. doesn’t even bother trying to court the Latino vote any more.
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Latinos, like most humans, know when they’re not wanted. And since the Republicans don’t show any signs — yet — of wanting to invite anyone except white people, and preferably white people who older, male, married, and Christian at that, to their Grand Old Party, Latinos are likely to continue to flock to the Democrats en masse. For as long as that continues to happen, the Republicans will need all the luck they can get if they wish to become America’s majority party.
UPDATE: The New York Times reports, A Record Latino Turnout, Solidly Backing Obama:
Defying predictions that their participation would be lackluster, Latinos turned out in record numbers on Tuesday and voted for President Obama by broad margins, tipping the balance in at least three swing states and securing their position as an organized force in American politics with the power to move national elections.
Over all, according to exit polls not yet finalized by Edison Research, Mr. Obama won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote while Mitt Romney won 27 percent. The gap of 44 percentage points was even greater than Mr. Obama’s 36-point advantage over John McCain in 2008.
After waiting in long lines in countless places — more than four hours at some South Florida polls — Latinos had such a strong turnout that it lifted them to 10 percent of voters nationwide.
In Arizona, a conservative state known for tough immigration enforcement policies that Mr. Romney won handily, Latinos saw setbacks. A bid to unseat Joe Arpaio, the hard-line sheriff of Maricopa County, was declared to have failed. A Hispanic Democrat, Richard Carmona, apparently was defeated in a Senate race by Jeff Flake, a popular Republican who has served in the House of Representatives.
Records from the office of Secretary of State Ken Bennett showed Wednesday that there were 600,000 votes yet to be counted statewide.
Luis Heredia, the executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party, said the outcome of many close races could not be determined without the counting of those ballots.
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In Arizona, a dozen groups teamed up to increase Latino voter registration and to add more Latinos to the state’s early-voting list, which entitles voters to receive ballots by mail at their homes. The number of Latinos on early-voting lists rose substantially, to 225,000 this year from 96,000 in 2008, said Petra Falcón, director of Promise Arizona, one of the groups in that effort.
On Tuesday, the groups dispatched monitors to poll sites where they knew many Latino voters would be casting ballots for the first time.
By midmorning, it had become clear that a lot of them were being forced to cast provisional ballots because officials could not find their names on the rolls. In a precinct in Tolleson, 300 out of 342 votes cast by 4 p.m. were provisional ballots, according to poll monitors assigned to the site. At Word of Abundant Life Christian Center in West Phoenix, 68 out of 123 voters had used provisional ballots by that hour.
Adilene Montesinos, a poll worker at Progressive Baptist Church in Mesa, said the problem had affected Latinos and also blacks. “There were so many, we almost ran out of provisional ballots,” Ms. Montesinos said.
Officials in Maricopa County, which accounts for more than half of the state’s voters, said the count of provisional ballots was not likely to begin until Monday. The officials said Wednesday that 344,000 ballots remained to be counted, among them 115,000 provisional ballots.