An examination of how, “in the twenty-first century, American politics will be shaped, in large measure, by how Latinos are incorporated into the political system.”
A team of pollsters at public opinion research firm Latino Decisions, led by Barreto (Political Science/Univ. of Washington) and Segura (Political Science/Stanford Univ.), breaks down the Latino polity to find out who the Latinos actually are, what is important to them and why they do or do not vote for one party or the other. The most recent presidential election showed decisively how crucial the Latino voting bloc is; 1 in 10 votes cast nationwide were by Latinos, and President Barack Obama won a whopping 75 percent of the Latino vote. However, as the authors show, support for the Democrats is not so straightforward; in fact, George W. Bush won most of the Latino vote, while in some places, such as in Florida, where the Latino population is predominantly Cuban, the trend remains conservative. Latinos tend to be more liberal than whites on certain issues such as the use of “government action to solve problems,” reflecting the economic stresses within the Latino community. Moreover, Latinos have a favorable opinion of the military, support environment protection (which impacts their own vulnerable communities), tend to tolerate LBGT rights but not abortion, and have grown more Democratic since the failed immigration reform of 2006 and 2007. Latinos have coalesced as a potent political group since the passage of Arizona’s punitive Senate Bill 1070 (“the papers please” law) in April 2010 and the Republican blocking of the DREAM Act. Indeed, failure on immigration reform forced Obama to push through (the now-controversial) DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program in order to secure the disgruntled Latino bloc and win re-election. The authors offer key strategies for bringing more Latinos to the polls.
A pertinent, useful study of significant trends in the American political landscape.