Thursday, November 06, 2008

McCain fails to win Latino support

Phoenix Business Journal - by Mike Sunnucks

Arizona Sen. John McCain was hammered by the Latino vote, hurting him in battleground states of Florida, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico as he lost his presidential bid to Barack Obama.

Obama took two-thirds of the overall Hispanic vote and McCain got 32 percent, according to exit polls conducted by NBC News. George Bush got 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004.

McCain also didn’t fare well among younger and working-class voters and did not do as well as Bush with whites, middle-class and older voters.

Some say Republicans’ tough stance on immigration issues, including workplace crackdowns, border fences and opposition to amnesty programs, turned off Latino voters. McCain and Bush favor a guest worker program and path for undocumented workers in the U.S. to obtain legal status, while conservatives emphasize border walls, tough penalties for illegal workers and their employers and varying levels of deportations.

Immigration was not a big issue during the campaign, but both McCain and Obama ran Spanish-language radio and television ads in battleground markets, such as Denver, Albuquerque, Las Vegas and Miami. Obama’s ad hit at right-wing Republicans tough immigration policies.

Other analysts say the economy and $850 billion Wall Street bailout is what nailed McCain’s White House hopes.

“Latino voters are no different than non-Latino voters,” said Farrell Quinlan, president of In the Arena Public Affairs Inc., a Phoenix-based consulting firm. “John McCain’s campaign was fatally wounded by the financial meltdown that took an essentially tied race in mid-September to a decisive Obama victory on election day. Without the financial crisis, I believe John McCain would have equaled or exceeded George W. Bush’s 2004 support of two out of five Latino voters.”

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