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Views of whites, Latinos toward Barack Obama analyzed

June 30, 2008 | 11:07 am

In two new articles, pollsters put the attitudes of A) non-Latino white voters and B) Latino voters toward Barack Obama under a microscope.

In the Wall Street Journal today, Peter Brown of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute writes that he finds it "more than a little ironic that it has taken the first African-American to win a major party presidential nomination to make clear to everyone what has been the case for more than 40 years in presidential elections: Democrats have a problem with white voters."

Brown doesn't specify that the white voters to which he and other pollsters refer excludes those of Latin American descent. But we checked with him and that's the case.

In his piece, which can be read in full here, he notes that no Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson, in his 1964 landslide, has won a majority of this white vote. He argues: "For those voters, especially ones without college degrees, the fact that Sen. Obama is black may not be as much a disqualifier as his background as a Democrat from the Frost Belt with no national security or executive experience and a voting record judged by the nonpartisan National Journal as the Senate’s most liberal during 2007."

The Chicago Tribune's Swamp blog has its take on Brown's column here.

On the Huffington Post Saturday, two members of the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Democratic polling firm made their case for debunking the notion that the Latino vote is up for grabs in November's election.

Mark Feierstein and Ana Iparraguirre write that Obama's relatively weak performance among Latinos in his primary battle with Hillary Clinton (who dominated among those voters) "has helped fan the idea that he has a Latino problem or that Hispanics are disinclined to vote for black candidates."

Not so, they contend. They note that national polls have shown that Obama "is running well ahead of John McCain among Hispanics, and significantly better than John Kerry did against George Bush in 2004."

That may be how it plays out ...

... in November's vote, but before then both Obama and McCain apparently have some repair work to do with Latino media outlets, including bloggers.

In this piece for Politico.com, Gebe Martinez says that Spanish-language media have been "blogging, writing and outright complaining that the presidential campaigns have not been paying attention to them."

Frustration with the Obama campaign boiled over during a recent conference call with Robert Gibbs, the candidate's communications director, Martinez reports.

-- Don Frederick

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