Latino politics follow-up

There’s been some interesting comments so far in Friday’s “When politics gets personal for Latinos” post, including the one point the media often overlooks, that Latinos are not some monolothic entity that can be stereotyped in one particular way. Today, I came across a couple more interesting nuggets, one that digs a little deeper into Clinton and Obama’s support within the Latino community to-date, and another that breaks down Texas’ upcoming complicated not-really-a-primary contest on March 4th that Clinton’s effectively betting the house on.

NOTE: Check out the original post, too, as I added a couple of new references, including one that looks at the potential scenario of the Democratic nomination coming down to the final contest in Puerto Rico on June 7th!

Over at Daily Kos, “Poblano” has a dizzingly detailed breakdown of the demographics of the 26 primaries and caucuses held prior to Saturday that, among other things, drills into the Latino vote and offer this interesting tidbit:

Percentage of naturalized citizens, e.g. immigrants.  Surprisingly, I did not find that Obama performed worse in states with large Latino populations.  Keep in mind that the difference in Obama’s vote share with white voters and Latinos is no longer all that great; he’s getting about 45% of the former, and 35% of the latter, and even these differences can be explained by the other variables in my model (for example, a relatively small percentage of Latino voters have college degrees).  However, I did find that Obama performed slightly worse in states with a higher percentage of foreign-born, but now naturalized citizens.  This distinction is important, because  neither the Latino population nor the Asian population are monolithic.  New Mexico, for example, has a huge number of Hispanics, but most of them have been here for generations.  This helps to explain how Obama could virtually tie Hillary in New Mexico, in spite of its population being more than 40% Hispanic.  New Jersey, on the other hand, has a rapidly-growing Latino population, and it consists mostly of recent immigrants.  So it is one’s immigration experience, and not one’s race, that appears to account for Hillary’s stronger support with Hispanic and Asian voters.  A zero-gen Hispanic voter is somewhat more likely to vote for Hillary — and perhaps that is intuitive, because many of them either came to this country or became citizens when Bill Clinton was in power.  However, I would guess that native-born Hispanics vote for Obama at nearly the same rates as white voters do, accounting for their other demographic characteristics.

On a related note, The Atlantic‘s Marc Ambinder explains the complicated, not-quite-a-primary system in Texas that conventional wisdom suggests favors Clinton but the reality may actually be the opposite:

The delegate-rich districts are the most heavily liberal state senate districts. According to this calculation, they’re in Austin and in two of the most concentrated African American parts of the state. Advantage: Obama.

Clinton will get plenty of support from Latino voters, but they tend to be more spread out and thus will see their votes somewhat diluted in the 31 separate primaries. In order to “win” — both enough delegates and statewide, you need to organize what amounts to caucus-like campaigns in each of these districts.

The white vote in Texas will probably split, with Obama taking men and Clinton taking women. Though Latinos make up a slightly larger share of the electorate than African Americans, they tend to vote in lower proportions.

Attempting to combine Poblano’s analysis — which concludes with a prediction of a 10-point Clinton victory in Texas — with Ambinder’s assessment might just make your brain explode from the sheer [exhilirating?] unpredictability of this whole election!

The upside of all of this, however, is that for the first time in my 16 years of being an eligible voter, several “minority” voices are exerting tangible influence on the national political landscape and, regardless of whom the ultimate Democratic nominee is, the next President will be forced to address their concerns much more directly than they have in the past.

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Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

As in guillotine. Old/new media pragmatist. Sometimes loud, formerly poet, always opinionated. Beer, bourbon, books, games, running, soccer.

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