Monday, September 22, 2008

Will the Latino vote decide Election 2008?

-- by Dave

Herny Fernandez has offers this noteworthy analysis:

 Here’s how 538 lists the top 6 states in terms of return on investment:

  1. Colorado
  2. Nevada
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Virginia
  5. Ohio
  6. New Mexico

Three of those states (Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico) have Latino voting blocs more than large enough to decide the outcome. For both campaigns, this race is coming down to the ability to inspire Latino voters.

With polls consistently showing Obama holding a 2-1 advantage among those voters -- particularly in those three states -- that's good news for Obama. But he can't afford to stand pat, either.

It's true that Obama has done a fine job recently of attacking McCain for his two-facedness on immigration. But at the same time, as Roberto Lovato has adroitly observed, immigration has been put on the backburner as an issue for Democrats. This was especially the case at the Democratic National Convention, where the only discussion of immigration came early in the final day, in the form of speeches by Rep. Luis Guiterrez and Bill Richardson (as well as a brief mention in Obama's acceptance speech).

It's not enough to point out that McCain has been trying to play both ends against the middle on immigration. To win these voters, Obama needs to enunciate a vision of immigration reform built on common sense and the wisdom enough to see the big picture. It's an opportunity to demonstrate real leadership.

As it turns out, the election could depend on it. The economy will be this campaign's landmark issue, no doubt -- but making the right play on immigration could prove decisive in a neck-and-neck contest.

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