...as in the imperative (i.e. you, youth, progress). This blog is updated by politically active young people. Issues that will be discussed are those which concern young voters and are of concern to young voters.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Salsa Revolution

During October of this year, the population of the US will reach 300-million according to estimates by the US Census Bureau. USA Today pointed out in an article last month that "it's a good bet the milestone baby — or immigrant — will be Hispanic." The Hispanic population in the US increased by "more than 50%" from the 1990 to the 2000 census, surpassing that of African-Americans. According to the aforementioned article, in the 2040s when the US population is estimated to hit 400-million, about 25% of the general population will be Hispanic, and whites will make up just over 50%.

The growing influence of Latinos - their culture, purchasing power, and political importance - is becoming increasingly apparent in American life. For example, it was reported in 1998 that sales of salsa surpassed that of ketchup (though a conflicting report by American Demographics suggested that salsa had not surpassed sales of ketchup, nor even of mustard). Latin culture, especially music, is having an unprecedented effect on American culture.

Yet, with increased immigration comes increased xenophobia.

But this blog is not about Hispanic voters, so why do I mention it? First of all, the Salsa Revolution will have a dramatic effect on American politics, especially in the Southwest. Despite the efforts of President Bush to reach out to Hispanic voters, this demographic is, and is increasingly Democratic. NDN (don't ask me what it stands for) recently had this to say:

In 2004 Kerry beat Bush 59%-40% with all Hispanics, and 52%-48% with those Spanish-dominant. In this survey Hispanics confirmed the closeness of the 2004 result. When asked who "did you vote for in 2004?" the result came back 38%-36% Kerry-Bush.

When asked how they would vote if the Presidential election were held today, this group gives Democrats a remarkable 36-point advantage (59%-23%). For Republicans this is a dramatic drop from the 52%-48% Kerry-Bush result with the Spanish-speaking sub-group in 2004.

Bush's standing with this group has plummeted. In the 2004 cycle, Bush regularly received a 60% favorable rating from Hispanics. In our survey this was reversed, as 38% see him favorably, 58% unfavorably, with 40% very unfavorable towards the President.

Democrats have a very significant advantage in favorability, with a 65%-25% favorable/ unfavorable result. Republicans come in at 41%-51% favorable/unfavorable. For the first time in any Hispanic poll we've seen, The Republican Party is seen more favorably than Bush. It is would not be a stretch to now say that President Bush has become a drag on the Republican Party with Hispanics.
Granted, that is only Spanish-speaking Hispanics, but I think it is fair to assume that a large percentage of the Spanish-speaking demographic was convinced to vote Democratic by bilingual Hispanics.

The second reason I mention Hispanic voters is because the average age of Hispanics is lower than any other race in the US. According to the AP, "Hispanics are young, with a median age of 27, compared with 40 for white non-Hispanics. Turnout, in general, has increased among young voters (by 11% (vs. general voter increase of 4%)), but they still vote at rates lower than for any other age group (currently, wait for the next election)." Thus, Hispanics represent an even larger percentage of young voters than voters in the general population. Thus, by targeting Hispanic voters, Democrats can also reach large numbers of young voters.

Democrats are currently doing a good job with Hispanic voters, but they need to adopt less conservative immigration policies if they really want to capture the demographic. According to the AP:

A poll by the Pew Hispanic Center found that 16 percent of Hispanics support Republicans on immigration, down from 25 percent two years ago. Support for Democrats on the issue fell from 39 percent to 35 percent.

One out of four Hispanics said neither party has the best position on immigration, compared with 7 percent two years ago.

Could you imagine a Blue Texas? It could happen!

More Information:

Bush, Republicans Plummet among Spanish-Speaking Latinos - MyDD
Hispanics in the USA - US Census Bureau
Hispanics Poised to Play Pivotal Role in National Elections - AP


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