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HISPANIC VOTE EXPECTED TO BE SIGNIFICANT FACTOR ON TUESDAY

At the Hillary Rodham Clinton rally in East Los Angeles on Saturday, before the all-female mariachi band performed and the candidate delivered her speech, Dolores Huerta reminded the huge crowd of the big event coming up.

"Tuesday is Super Tuesday. You know what else it is?" asked the 77-year-old co-founder of the United Farm Workers. "It's Super Latino Tuesday!"

There is no question about that in California - or in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and New Mexico.

In each of those states, all of which have Democratic primaries or caucuses Tuesday, the Hispanic vote is a significant factor, expected to account for 14 percent of the turnout in California. And Hispanics' preference for Clinton over Barack Obama gives her a real advantage.

Politicians and analysts say the reason is obvious. Hispanics know and like the Clintons - they don't know much about Obama - and appreciate what their lives were like when Bill Clinton was president.

"It's primarily because of the Clintons' track record," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, one of many prominent Hispanic public officials who is for her. "They remember the jobs that were created, the good economy, and an administration focused on reducing the immigration backlog."

The Clinton numbers are dramatic. In the Nevada caucuses, she won the Hispanic vote, 64 percent to 26 percent for Obama. In the Florida primary, the margin was 61-28. In California polls, she has similar leads.

Hispanics are not just important in the primaries, they are hugely important in the general election.

They number 44-million, 15 percent of the population, according to the latest Census Bureau estimates, making them the nation's largest minority group. Their numbers also are growing faster than the nation as a whole. (The 37-million blacks constitute 12 percent of the population.)

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