Ever since the recent precedent of president Obama trounced the ex GOP candidate Mitt Romney among the Latino population in the year 2012, many political experts have warned that Republicans would do well for themselves if they try and acquire the support of Hispanic community. Otherwise, they probably do not stand a chance in the future elections.
While that may be true for 2016, it does not actually play that big of a role in the 2014 midterm elections, since there are not that many competitive elections inside states that have a large Latino population. So it probably will not matter as much there.
A good example of this is state of Colorado. 2013 American Community Survey provided some of the statistics, which were later analyzed by the polling company called Latino Decisions. It turns out that Latinos make for only 15.4 percent of the voting population there. However, despite these relatively small numbers, they played a crucial role in the election of Michael Bennet in 2010, which was the year dominated by Republicans all around the country. Bennet is one of the two Democratic senators of the Colorado state. In that election (which, once again, took place in 2010), Michael Bennet managed to secure 81 percent of all the Latino votes. Some of that success is attributed to him supporting the immigration reform. This is, of course, an issue that Hispanic voters are most concerned about. Nowadays, about 51 percent of registered voters are calling the issue of immigration the most important problem in the upcoming 2014 election (according to Latino Decisions survey that was published earlier this week).
As for Latinos, they are heavily upset with both Republicans and Democrats because of the immigration issue. That frustration, however, seems to be even bigger with the GOP. In order to back this statement with statistics, let me share some of the numbers with you. More than 50 percent (53, to be exact) of all the Hispanic voters (registered ones, of course) shared their concerns that the Democratic Party does not really appreciate their votes and view them as something natural, even though they failed their immigrant supporters time and time again now. Only about 8 percent of them feel that Democrats are really committed to protecting their interests as immigrants.
There have been some motions regarding the issue here and there. For example, Sen. Mark Udall from D-Colorado, who is being opposed by Rep. Cory Cardner in the election process, was very hesitant on doubling down on immigration as one the major campaign issues. One thing he DID do about it, though, was releasing his statement in which he disagrees with President Obama’s decision regarding the delay of executive actions concerning the immigration reform. Otherwise, he has been completely silent on the matter.
However, not everyone seems to follow in the senator’s footsteps. For example, the cofounder of Latino decisions, a man named Matt Baretto told that he does not approve of the president Obama’s decision to disregard the whole issue. He also added that in the state of Colorado people are, for the most part, okay with immigrants (unlike some other states). The reason for that is that for the last 200 years or so there always was a noticeable Hispanic community. While there are, of course, people who are conservative on the issue, that does not change the fact that the average voter there is very open minded when it comes to immigration. These were the words of Matt Baretto that he told to CBS news.
Even though Gardner has been an active supporter for immigration reforms in Congress, he still receives some hate from Latino population for his failure to change the minds of his fellow Republicans on the matter of immigration.
Nevertheless, a poll form October demonstrated Gardner winning over Udall among Latino voters with a convincing 14 percent lead (35 to 49). Baretto however, is convinced that this poll is “100% wrong”. He also added that he thinks it impossible for Gardner to beat Udall among Hispanic voters.
He thinks that there are some serious issues concerning this particular poll. For example, the poll relied on a couple of dozen Latino voters who had landline phones and it was done in English entirely. Of course, such a way of doing things is wrong and produces inaccurate results. He also added that the average Hispanic voter in here is using a cellular phone instead of the landline one and is probably younger and leans more towards the Democratic side. He also believes that there is a much bigger support for Democrats among Hispanic voters in Colorado and that the true numbers of Hispanic voters who support Udall can very well skew the numbers in his favor.
This is not the first time where the actual numbers of Latino votes were undercounted. According to Baretto, both Bennet and Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader) have won their respective races only because of their Hispanic supporters. The initial results were not in their favor, but the underestimated number of those voters was one thing that helped them gain an edge.
Of course, there is also an issue of turnout. Much like voters from other ethnicities, Latinos have a tendency to turn out much less when midterm elections take place, although they often take the lead in regards to their low participation.
There was an exception to this statistic in 2010. With the national average for Hispanic voters’ turnout being 60 percent that year, the amount of people who showed up during midterm elections was 67 percent. Some of the Latino and Democratic groups seem to have taken note of this and have even provided some organizers to the Colorado state in order to increase the voter registration even further. If you add that to the organization which was left by Bennet and president Obama, this could result in more votes for both Udall and Governor John Hickenlooper. The latter is the Democratic Governor of the state and he is also face with competitive election.