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Latino voters played key role in California races, other national contests, survey finds

Advocacy groups are touting results from a pre-election survey that showed Latino influence in deciding elections in eight states, including California.

Latino voters overwhelmingly supported California’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and U.S. Senate incumbent Barbara Boxer over their respective Republican rivals Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, according to polls conducted by Latino Decisions and sponsored by the National Council of La Raza, Service Employees International Union and America’s Voice.

The Democratic candidates each drew support from 86% of the Latino voters polled, according to the survey. Jerry Brown won the election with nearly 54% of the overall vote, while Boxer won reelection with 52%.

“The first critical takeaway I would offer is that the GOP wave stops in California,” said Gary Segura, a senior researcher with Latino Decisions and professor at Stanford University. “There was virtually no evidence of the GOP wave in the state with the largest Latino population.”

The poll reached 3,200 “extremely likely” voters in phone interviews between Oct. 28 and Nov. 1, with a reported a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2% for state data and 1.7% for national data.

On a national level, Segura pointed to the Latino vote as the likely saving grace for the Democrats’ Senate majority and particularly for  Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada. According to the poll, Latinos supported Reid by an overwhelming margin -- 90% favored the Democratic compared with 8% for Republican Sharron Angle.

Advocates said Angle’s anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric and Reid’s decision to bring up the DREAM Act -- which would offer a path to citizenship for certain young people who were brought to the United States illegally as minors -- for a Senate vote in September brought Latino voters to the polls.

“That combination helped to motivate Latino voters in a way that saved Harry Reid’s race,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice.

On the other hand, a number of Republican Latino candidates won their races, including Senate candidate Marco Rubio in Florida, House candidates Jaime Herrera in Washington and Bill Flores in Texas, and gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez in New Mexico. Gloria Montaño Greene, director of the Washington, D.C., office of the National Assn. of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund, said the fact that Latino voters or candidates aided both parties is not a contradiction.

“I think both sides are evidence of the overall influence of the Latino vote,” she said.

In the poll, Latino voters cited jobs, the economy and immigration as the top issues that drew them to the polls in 2010. Californian Latinos were more approving of the Obama administration’s handling of immigration, with 54% of California respondents saying they approved, compared with 49% nationwide.

--Abby Sewell

Comments () | Archives (50)

Let more of my people in! Oh and give us jobs. These are our issues? Man I feel so disenfranchised. Its getting harder and harder for me to vote for the people that support progressive ideas without being on the wrong side of the immigration issue. Hello. Latinos. Other issues here. My ancestors came from Mexico too . My obligation is to help create an environment for my family and neighbors not to help absorb relentless baby booms for reasons that border on bigotry.

The Times appears more desperate by the day. The Times appears more Mexican News by the day.

US citizens don't buy it....just like they stopped buying the Times, hint...are ya out of bankruptcy yet?

Pandering to illegal aliens wasn't/isn't such a smart business decision aye?

not the brightest people around...

Of course they would support the Democrats. They can continue all the freebies they get, while the legal citizens have to pay for it.

LOL!!! Your collective denial is pathetic !!! You say the Latino vote was insignificant yet you are definitely sweating this article. LOL!!! Just the mere fact that you morons are actually commenting about the impact of the Latino vote illustrates that you know Latinos Rocked the Vote.

The best motivator for Latinos to become citizens, register to vote, and actually vote is your racist, prejudice, and bigoted attacks.

California held the line against the Republican Insani-TEA Party!!! Wooo hooo!!!

LOL, every voter plays a key role in California.... lolllllll I just love how segregation has infiltrated the states after lost blood, and treasure trying to bring everyone together.

The media sure has played its hand in promoting such a circumstance.

Illegal aliens who snuck into CA and gave birth before 1992 now have create a huge pool of anchor babies now eligible to vote. They voted for Democrats who give them welfare and coddle them. That was foreseen by anyone with brains and now it has had a big impact on the elections. And bankrupted CA along the way.

Unfortunately for you conservative individuals, you lost in California. End of story. Oh, and btw Phil, you have to be a citizen to vote. Immigrants cannot vote. I am glad to live in a country that protects a CITIZEN'S right to vote, no matter what race or religion they practice.

"If you were an immigrant and had waves of illegal immigrant family members coming to join you here in Calif, of course you would vote for Brown and Boxer. "

The Exodus from California will continue, isolating the State even more from the
mainstream of the U.S. Citizen Middle Class!
Within the next few years California will be begging Congress for
a bailout!

Better get used to it Right Wing. One word. Demographics. When the old white male is replaced, every single demographic after it is VERY liberal. In ten years, minorities will outnumber the old white majority. In 20-30 years, Latinos will be the majority. Conservatism is dead. We liberals sat home this election (Nationally that is). JUST wait til the old white male is gone and we show up.

The fear of the Right Wingers in these comments is HYSTERICAL. Believe what you will. The Latino wave is coming and it's ALL liberal. And there is nothing you can do to stop it. What is really funny, is that you think it's all about illegal immigration. that just means you'll ignore the Latino Americans who will, single-handedly, destroy conservatism.

What a load of Crap!

Be realist!

We're supposed to believe or care about some poll by two racistgroups printed in a pro illegal immigration newspaper ?

I am HIGHLY amused at the denial on behalf of the Baggers posting here. That's OK. It makes it so easy to take it over in a number of years. And there is NOTHING you can do to stop it.



Regardless of your comments and you hatred, California showed the country that mindless and baseless slogans don't work on us. Whether you believe or not on the Latino influence on the November 2, 2010 elections political parties are watching and taking notes. That is called evidence and data. Candidates who respected Latinos got their votes. It is very offensive to a multi generation U. S. born Latino to be called that racist slur that has become code for all Latinos.

We live in a democracy, you are entitled to your point of view. Stop acting like children, stop the name calling, once again the rest of the country is looking up to us. We will lead the country in the economic recovery, for that we need workers and spenders at all levels.

Richard Long: “I do not know why these GOP hardliners about immigration thinks that they will win without the support of the Latino votes.”

By hardliners do mean actually opposing illegal immigration, as in being willing to effectively enforce the laws against it and not rewarding people for breaking our immigration laws, the kind of things required if people ever hope to control it? Maybe the LA Times will hire you as you seem to meet the most fundamental requirement for working at the paper.

The reality is the the Latino population intimately connected to illegal immigration probably won't support candidates that don't also support illegal immigration. But encouraging the growth of that population is a path to the GOP's demographic death and robs them of the potential support of all the voters who are against illegal immigration and could be willing to vote for their party's candidates.

@tiredofnonsense who said "So, what was the percentage of Latino votes in regards to total voters? Throwing out numbers doesn't mean anything if you don't have the full scope. 85% of 2% of the votes wouldn't matter at all. Keep pushing the agenda though guys. It's serving the newspaper industry well."

Exactly. Everyone does their best to not paint the entire picture. It's the same example of African-Americans getting blamed for Obama getting elected. Although, I'm not a fan, I do know numbers. Yes, 96% of black voters supported him during the election, but they only make up 13% of the total U.S. population. Now, factor out blacks with prison records who cannot vote at all, and the voting base is even smaller. The fact is white independents put him in there.

Race card politics continues unabated from the Democratic Party.

So much for the great melting pot the United States is supposed to represent. Now we balkanize everyone into racial groups and fight over the scraps. What is the motto of La Raza again? "For the race everything, for those outside nothing" or something like that?

I can't wait for ole' Moonbeam to declare California as an official Sanctuary State. May as well give a title to what we already are.

I think I've become inured to the racists who are such active commenters here. It's sad that they've found the L.A. Times commenting system to congregate, but at least they're supporting the paper with their page views.

It's a pity that the small percentage of racists in the GOP have such sway in the party because conservatism and Latinos are a natural fit. Most of the Latinos I know are hard working capitalists at heart and very family oriented. But the GOP would prefer to "fire up the base" by marginalizing outsiders, even to the point of forcing moderates and others out of the party. It's a small tent and getting smaller. George and Jeb Bush recognized the opportunity that the Latino population presented to the GOP, but their views were rejected, and now it's coming back to haunt the party. One only has to look at Rubio's election to see what happens when the GOP embraces Latinos instead of rejecting them.

Regarding immigration, many many Americans want reform and solutions to the problems with illegal immigration, but we don't seem to get anywhere when the small group of racists hog the mic with their constant refrain of "Deport them all! Stop the invasion! Mexicans only want handouts! California is turning into the 3rd world!" If those are what pass for arguments in the mainstream GOP, we will never have any sort of sensible but tough reform. There is basically no talking to these people; you're better off trying to reason with a brick wall.

I really don't see any chance of a solution to the illegal immigration problem so long as it is merely a tactical wedge issue for the GOP. It keeps the base excited (or rabid), and the GOP only seems interested in winning the next election, rather than solving our country's problems.

Congrats. And good luck with the Democrats still in power. Will the last taxpayer in California please turn out the lights?

"It is very offensive to a multi generation U. S. born Latino to be called that racist slur that has become code for all Latinos." Huh?

Gee, what a bunch mindless "WHITE" "CHRISTIAN" "CONSERVATIVE" morons we have in this state. Hey GHALL, exactly which "LEGAL" immigrants are you talking about? Is it the original wave of humanity that crash landed on U.S. soil through Ellis Island back in the day? Dropping a bunch of anchor babies like your grandpappy and mammy? Must have been SWEET to be able to come when there WAS NO IMMIGRATION LAW!!What a free for all huh? Honestly people! turn off BILL HANDLE and his KFI buddies every one in a while! Seriously, you don't HAVE to do EVERYTHING Glenn BECK and FOX news tells you to do! Its OK to have a mind of your own and think things through OK?

All these talking points. So clever. Anytime someone brings up a point of Latino votes not really being a huge difference, here's what you can count on seeing:

1. You'll be called racist.
2. You'll be told to stop listening to Glen Beck and/or Fox News.
3. You'll be told that there's nothing you can do to stop it.
4. You'll be told to "deal with it".

Of course, none of those address what you bring up. Why is that? Because why would they? It's easier to try and make someone have to defend themselves against something they can't prove than it is to counter a point that is statistically sound. I mean, honestly, if EVERY SINGLE Latino voter had voted for Meg Whitman, she still loses by probably 7%. Tell me again why those votes matter?

Point of information to those who will lump chicanos, latinos, tejanos, cubanos, Puerto Ricans, New Yoricans together in willy nilly oversimplication. California, Texas, Florida, and New York have very different, separate histories on the part of their brown citizens. Learn about this. Also, as each family progresses through the generations, the new generations tend to become more conservative than their elders. This is a well studied phenomenon, over many decades, but it can become immaterial in the face of bigotry and stereotyping when the common good coalesces against the common bad.

Texas has a very large citizenry of Spanish back round, yet the state's representatives are mostly Republican.

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