Monday, October 22, 2012

El Voto Latino

We've talked extensively about the importance of Latino voters in this election. Today, we're given at least a couple more reminders of this.

First off, we have the new Latino Decisions poll and some very interesting numbers there.

After a slight decline in last week’s poll, Obama’s support is back up near his previous high 3 weeks ago. When asked who they would vote for if the election were held today, a combined 71% of respondents were certain or likely to vote for Obama, compared to 67% last week and 72% two weeks ago. A combined 20% were certain or likely to vote for Romney, compared to 23% last week and 20% two weeks ago.

One of the most interesting electoral stories over the last two weeks may be that while the overall national polls show Romney making noticeable gains on Obama, among the Latino electorate Romney gained only 3 points during his rise, but lost those 3 points back this week and stands at 20%. And a very important footnote to the national polls – if they are not accurately polling and counting Latino voters which will comprise 10% of all voters, they may be overstating Romney’s numbers by 2 or 3 points.

At the very least, this may explain the strange national poll numbers that occasionally pop up. If their likely voter screens are excluding too many Latin@ voters, just as most public polls of Nevada do, then the actual reality on the ground may be different from what's being said on the cable shows. And it explains why President Obama's campaign isn't breaking a sweat over the above mentioned national polls.

However, at least some from the national media are taking a closer look at what's happening here in Nevada. And perhaps they're starting to realize what's actually occurring on the ground.

“Before President Obama made his decision to go forward with deferred action, it was pretty dismal,” said Vicenta Montoya, an immigration attorney and Democratic activist. “I was going to vote for Obama but it wasn’t going to be with grand enthusiasm.”

Now Obama’s order has fired up Montoya and others in East Las Vegas, a swath of shopping centers, tire shops and weathered ranch houses sprawling east from the Strip. It’s the neighborhood of the often-unionized people who make Sin City function: housekeepers, card dealers and taxi drivers.

For some, Obama’s order pulled them into politics. Earlier this month, Hector Rivera’s father asked him what he was going to do with his future. Rivera, a high school senior who was brought into the United States without authorization when he was 5, went to the East Las Vegas Obama campaign office and volunteered.

The teenager already has applied for documents allowing him to work under Obama’s program. “It’s an opportunity for me and future generations,” said Rivera, 17, imagining how his own unborn children could benefit someday. “Even though they’ll be born here, I want to get a better job to give them a better opportunity so they can live a better life.”

Others, like Sergio Solis, have suffered economically but see the president as on their side. Solis had to close a restaurant in Southern California and move here to work as a salesman for an energy company. But, after approvingly mentioning the DREAM Act, Solis said it will take time to correct the country’s course following the eight years of the George W. Bush administration.

“This building here, I can dynamite it and destroy it in five minutes,” Solis said, gesturing to a supermarket where he was handing out brochures. “But I can’t build it back up in five minutes.”

This is a major reason why both Mitt Romney and Dean Heller are in serious trouble here. Like the rest of the G-O-TEA, they have embraced the anti-Latin@ xenophobia of their "base". And now, they are paying the price as Latin@ voters keep their distance from the Nevada G-O-TEA.

As I've been saying all along, this may be the ultimate factor in pushing Nevada (again) into the blue column this fall.

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