The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Michael Earls (202) 494-8555

Following AZ & FL Primaries, Experts Assess Impact of Latino Voters on 2010 Elections

New Report Shows Latinos Could Play Decisive Role in 41 Battleground Races in 12 States this November


leading experts on Latino voter trends and the politics of immigration
reform gathered on a conference call to analyze Tuesday's primary
results in Arizona and Florida,
and assess the influence of Latino voters and the immigration debate on
elections in these states, as well as California, Colorado, Nevada, and
other areas in the run-up to November.

Also today, America's Voice released a new version of the report, ThePower of the Latino Vote in the 2010 Elections,
which tracks 41 key races in 12 states where Latino voters are poised
to play a decisive role this year. This previously-issued report,
updated through yesterday's primary results, analyzes trends in Latino
voting behavior and provides a detailed analysis of the way the
immigration is playing out in these gubernatorial, Senate, and House

impact of Latino voters on 2010 races will be a major storyline this
cycle - especially in states like Arizona, California, Colorado,
Florida, and Nevada. Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America's Voice,
said, "As our report makes clear, Latino voters are poised to influence
a number of battleground races across the country. As primary season
wraps up, a trend is emerging where Republican candidates tacked hard
right on immigration during the primaries, but are struggling to figure
out how to come back to the center in the general election so they can
compete for Latino and other swing voters. We will be watching races in
California, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, and elsewhere to see whether
Republican candidates can rebuild their image with Latinos, whether
Democratic candidates confidently lean into the immigration issue to vie
for this constituency, and whether candidates in both parties finally
realize that comprehensive immigration reform is a pragmatic position
that helps them both win Latino voters and win the middle."

to Republican political strategist Ana Navarro, "Intensity surrounding
the Arizona immigration law in Republican primaries will decrease in
races nationwide as we head into the general election. These candidates
now have to put together a winning formula for November, and that won't
involve antagonizing Hispanic voters."

While polling
shows that many Latinos are disillusioned by the failure to move
forward on comprehensive immigration reform in Congress, the recent
controversies over the Arizona SB1070 immigration law and the way that
some candidates have embraced punitive immigration policies have also
re-energized many Latino voters. According to Arturo Vargas, Executive
Director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed
Officials (NALEO), "The current debate around immigration is playing a
big role in what Latino voters say. We recently conducted a poll among
Latino voters in key states and they told us the issue of immigration
increases their likelihood of voting and even influences their selection
of candidates. In fact, when asked what are their top concerns, most
of the respondents told us 'immigration.' That's ahead of jobs, the
economy, and healthcare, among others. This is the first time we've
ever seen immigration top the list of concerns among Latino voters and
that is very significant."

to public opinion analyst Fernand Amandi, Vice President of Bendixen
& Amandi, "While a harsh immigration position may be a benefit in
some Republican primaries in the short term, it's bad politics for
general elections and a scorched-earth strategy for the long-term."

The America's Voice report includes the following analysis:

  • Races to Watch Where Latino Voters Will Be Key:
    The report tracks 41 key races in 12 states-27 U.S. House races, eight
    U.S. Senate races and six gubernatorial races-and provides statistics
    and background on Latino voters. Detailed profiles of the Latino
    electorate are included for each of these twelve states - AZ, CA, CO,
    CT, FL, IL, NV, NM, NY, PA, TX, and VA.
  • The Role of Immigration in Each Race:
    In addition to Latino voter statistics, the report includes a detailed
    description of the way the candidates' have been discussing immigration
    issues in each race profiled in the report. As recent polling
    has documented, immigration has jumped to the top of the list of key
    issues for Latino voters and promises to be a major factor in 2010
  • Nearly One-in-Five Congressional Districts Is At Least 25% Latino:
    The report also identifies the 79 congressional districts in which
    Latinos comprise at least 25% of the population, and a significant
    number of the voting population as well. Fifty-four of these seats are
    currently controlled by Democratic Members of Congress and 25 are
    controlled by Republican Members of Congress. These are districts where
    Latino voters have become a major factor, and where the electorate
    continues to grow and impact local and national politics.

Link to The Power of the Latino Vote in the 2010 Elections

America's Voice -- Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform. The mission of America's Voice is to realize the promise of workable and humane comprehensive immigration reform. Our goal is to build the public support and create the political momentum for reforms that will transform a dysfunctional immigration system that does not work into a regulatory system that does.