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Obama Leading McCain Among Hispanics in Florida

Earlier this week, Quinnipiac released a poll showing Senator Obama ahead in three swing states: Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio.  Read poll information here.  What wasn't included in the poll, was any information on how Obama was performing among Hispanic voters in the crucial state of Florida. 

I contacted the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, and Mr Pankaj Prakash was kind enough to provide me the information for Hispanic voters in Florida.  Their data indicates that Senator Obama is ahead of Senator McCain among Hispanics 53 to 43.  This is just the latest in a series of bad polls for Senator McCain. If there were any swing state where McCain could have hoped to win the Hispanic vote that is the state of Florida, and even in this state he is losing among Hispanics.  Senator McCain has already been airing spanish language ads in Florida aimed at courting Florida's Cuban voters, but unfortunately they have not been working for him. 

Many insiders, analysts and observers are addicted to the national polls at the moment and I will admit that I need my weekly fix as well.  However, these elections are decided on a state by state basis, and Senator McCain is losing in too many critical battleground states for his camp to be happy with a competitive national survey.  It will be intetresting to see how these numbers fluctuate once Senator Obama's ad campaign begins to take effect. 

MSNBC Poll also Shows Obama Trouncing McCain with Hispanic Voters

LAS VEGAS -- NDN has been making the case for months that the GOP has damaged its brand among Hispanics so badly that even Senator McCain would have difficulty courting Hispanic voters.  This, of course, is expected from a candidate who has betrayed the Hispanic community.  In addition, NDN has been arguing that Obama does not have a Latino problem and Hispanics would support the Democratic nominee if you look at recent trends. Today, MSNBC released a poll that is consistent with the Gallup poll released last week that shows Obama leading McCain by more than 30 points (62-28).  The MSNBC poll is devastating for McCain because it shows that his outreach efforts over the past several weeks have not done anything to move Hispanics over to his camp. Again, it also is important to note that Senator Obama has yet to begin airing his ads aimed at courting Hispanics.  Is it possible that this lead can grow even more?  We will find out soon enough.

Survey USA confirms Hispanics prefer Obama over McCain

Yesterday I posted a Gallup poll that showed Obama leading McCain by 33 points among Hispanic voters.  Today, I came across a Survey USA poll that also shows Obama leading McCain among Hispanics by 33 points.  Although the Survey USA poll shows a higher number of undecided Hispanics, it is important to note that it was taken before Obama officially claimed the nomination.  The Gallup poll shows that the both candidates benefited equally after Obama clinched the nomination leaving about 9 percent of Hispanics undecided.  This my friends is where the battle will be fought.  This 9 percent of Hispanics who have not made up their mind will make all the difference in the national election. 

Senator McCain's campaign claims that they will outperform Bush's numbers of 40% are highly unlikely, even if he were to attract the remaining 9% that will only leave him at 38%.  It is also important to note, that McCain has been the presumptive nominee for several months and has already launched his Hispanic outreach efforts.  Obama has yet to begin any concerted efforts to court Hispanics in the General election.  With McCain starting this far behind, while Obama has yet to begin, it is unlikely that McCain will be able to catch up.  Let's also keep in context that Obama will have more campaign funds than McCain, and will not be outspent on Spanish language advertising.  Of course, Senator Obama has much work to do to secure his support among Hispanics, but these results have him at a great starting point.

Also, I have to assume that at least 5% of Hispanics, who vote, will not vote for either candidate which means that there is about 4% left that each candidate can pick up.  In our report, Hispanics Rising II , we quote several prominent Republican advisers who state that if the Republican nominee fails to secure between 38%-40% of the Hispanic electorate, then they will lose the White House.  These numbers do not bode well for Senator McCain. 

McCain struggling with Hispanics

Recently, NDN released our Hispanics Rising II report that shows the incredible gains that Democrats have made among Hispanic voters and the troubles for the GOP in the upcoming election. Folks over at the RNC dismissed our findings as partisan, even though we were citing independent data from exit polls and the U.S. Census Bureau. I guess when the truth hurts that bad, the only thing you can do is go into denial.

If you look at the trends that have occurred over the past few election cycles, the GOP has failed to adopt a 21st century agenda for America. The failed administration of George Bush has done nothing to benefit Hispanics, and Senator McCain wants to continue this failed administration's road to ruin. His policy toward Cuba continues to punish Cuban families who live in the United States and long to see their relatives. His policy on the economy will continue to leave millions of Hispanic families struggling to survive. Senator McCain wants to continue the course in Iraq despite Hispanics being heavily against this position. He has changed course on comprehensive immigration reform and abandoned Hispanic immigrants in their time of need. He is opposed to universal health care for all Americans, at a time when Hispanics are struggling more than most to afford medical care.

The record is very clear: Senator McCain does not represent the values of Hispanic voters and the numbers confirm it. Today, Gallup released its latest tracking poll, which shows that Obama is increasing his support among Hispanic voters, while McCain is weak among this critical community.

I am sure that the GOP will just dismiss this as another partisan attack on Senator McCain because they can't defend the fact that they have a flawed candidate with a flawed record for Hispanics. But the numbers speak for themselves, and you bet that right about now, the GOP is thinking, "We may have a Latino problem."

For those tracking this, remember that Hispanics in 2004 broke 59-40 for Kerry-Bush and in 2006 broke 70-30 for Democrat-Republican. So the narrative that Obama is weak and McCain is strong among Latinos is simply refuted by the Gallup numbers above. Also, it is clear that McCain has been unable to differentiate and/or distinguish himself from the Latino community's negative view of the GOP. If these trends continue, this will make the five heavily Hispanic states of Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida much more Democratic - a shift that, alone, could give Barack Obama the presidency.

McCain Misses the Mark! Fails to Hire any Hispanics on Senate Staff

Yesterday the Latino Leaders Network hosted a reception with the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association to announce the second edition of the "Latinos on the Hill" congressional directory.  Being a former Hispanic congressional staffer, I take great pride in the growing number of Hispanics who are working on the Hill.  It is a significant increase from my days on the Hill. 

As I read through the list of Members of Congress who employ at least one Hispanic on their staff, I couldn't help but notice that Senator John McCain was not on the list.  I was sure that this was a mistake, and so I confirmed with the Latino Leaders Network.  They confirmed that in fact Senator McCain does not employ any Hispanics in his Senate office. 

WOW!!!  Are you kidding me with this?  Is this the same McCain who just launched a Spanish language website for his Presidential campaign, and who has been pandering to the Hispanic vote recently?  Senator McCain please explain how is it that you plan on convincing the Hispanic electorate that they are a valuable constituency to you, when you won't even bother to hire any Hispanics on your congressional staff? 

I might be willing to excuse you if you represented some other state, but you represent the state of Arizona with a huge Hispanic population.  Since you seem fond of spending the time in Florida, I will pay homage to the great Desi Arnaz: "Johnny, you got some splainin to do!" 

Clinton Campaign Continues in Nevada

The Las Vegas Review Journal reports today the Former President and First Spouse aspirant Bill Clinton will be in Reno this weekend to campaign on behalf of his wife's presidential campaign.  Read the full article here. President Clinton knows a little something about winning Nevada having won the Silver State both in 1992 and 1996.  The fact that the Clinton campaign is still investing so much time and resources in this process shows that she remains committed to campaigning until the very end.  No word yet on who will be representing Senator Barack Obama's campaign, but as much resources as they invested in the caucus I am sure that they will not allow themselves to lose any delegates in this process. I will be in Reno this weekend attending the Nevada State Democratic Convention and will keep you posted.   I am proud that the level of enthusiasm has remained strong with my fellow Nevadans, and look forward to what November will bring. 

McCain gambles on losing strategy

Given the fact that the Democratic Primary race for President is just more exciting than the Republican Primary race for President, I can understand that people/pundits/media would normally just pay more attention to the Democratic race over the Republican race. However, over the past few weeks many in the media have focused their commentary on the possibility that the prolonged Democratic Primary may hurt the eventual Democratic nominee in the General election this November. I think that, as with any primary battle, there will be some residual loss of support for the eventual nominee, but none greater than normal.

One of the main reasons for the excitement in the Democratic race that has generated record turnout is that Democrats are tired of this Republican administration and their failed policies and mismanagement of our nation's affairs. In the end, I believe that the Democrats desire for change will overcome any animosity from a primary battle. In addition, both Democratic candidates and their surrogates will make sure that they encourage their supporters to support the nominee. This is likely to happen because both candidates will remain a powerful force in American politics regardless of the outcome in the Presidential primary, and they will need to work together after the election.

However, this has not been the case on the Republican side. Although McCain assumed frontrunner status for the Republican Party after Tsunami Tuesday in February, he has not been able to unite the Party's base around his candidacy. Yesterday, I posed the question in my post about McCain's inability to unite the Republican's base around his candidacy, and the problems this may pose his candidacy in the General election. The NY Times published an article today by Michael Cooper, For the Republicans, It's McCain (and Others) that highlights the fact that a significant portion of Republicans voters refuse to support McCain. I am glad that the media is paying attention to this dynamic because I think that it will definitely alter the strategy for the General election.

Amid the chatter about whether the Democrats would be able to unite around one of their candidates was an interesting nugget. Incomplete returns on Tuesday night showed that more than 20 percent of those who voted in the Republican primary in Indiana voted for someone other than Senator John McCain, the party's presumptive nominee.

With 74 percent of the state reporting, Mr. McCain was winning Indiana with 77.3 percent of the vote, according to The Associated Press. That would be considered a robust margin on most election nights. But consider the competition.

If you look at the contests that have occurred since March 5th, McCain has faced consistent resistance from many Republican voters.

March 4th
Ohio: 60%
Rhode Island: 65%
Texas: 51%
Vermont: 72%

March 11th
Mississippi: 79%

April 22nd
Pennsylvania: 73%

May 6th
Indiana: 77%
North Carolina: 73%

What does it say that more than 1 in 5 Republican voters have refused to vote for him since he secured the Republican nomination? The only plausible explanation is that Conservatives are not confident/comfortable with McCain. In my post yesterday, I also claimed that McCain has probably learned that Conservatives would rather stay home or vote down ballot than support his candidacy. McCain has spent the past several months convincing Conservatives that he deserves their support, and he is failing at convincing them. The Washington Post published an article by Juliet Eilperin, McCain Says He Would Put Conservatives on Supreme Court that focuses on McCain's continued efforts to persuade Conservatives to support his candidacy.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee said that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. "would serve as the model for my own nominees, if that responsibility falls to me," highlighting the gap between Republicans and Democrats on the question of who should sit on the Supreme Court. Both justices have established strong conservative records since Bush appointed them, and the appointment of one more conservative to the nation's highest court could tip the balance on issues such as abortion, discrimination, civil liberties and private property.

If 20% of the Republican base chooses to walk out on McCain, he will have to pick up those votes elsewhere. Maybe he could reach out to Hispanics, oh wait he has already betrayed them, and sold them down a river. This strategy may have been a bad bet for McCain, but then again McCain has never been a good gambler.

McCain double talk continues!

It has become very clear that McCain will do/say whatever it takes to win the White House. Yesterday, I posted that on McCain's effort to court Hispanic voters. McCain also chose to use Cinco de Mayo as an opportunity to appeal to Hispanic voters. Reuters published an article, McCain woos Hispanics and launches Spanish web site, and the Washington Times published an article by Stephen Dinan, McCain courts Hispanic voters, that both focus on McCain's attempt to reverse trends among the Hispanic electorate which have fled the GOP in droves over the last two election cycles. Both articles touched on the fact that Republican Party's anti-immigrant message has cost Republicans support among Hispanic voters. They both also highlight that McCain has changed his position on immigration. Hispanics should make no mistake that McCain betrayed the immigrant community during the immigration debate and walked away from his own bill. McCain now says that he supports an "enforcement first" approach to immigration despite the fact that poll after poll shows that the American public wants a comprehensive solution to this problem. McCain has decided to put politics ahead of policy. Excerpts of the stories are below:

Reuters

Hispanic support for the Republican Party has ebbed in recent months, following a bruising battle over illegal immigration.

Republican lawmakers sank a comprehensive immigration bill last June that would have created a path to citizenship for many of the 12 million mostly Hispanic illegal immigrants living in the shadows in the United States.

McCain's support for a broad immigration overhaul that would also have put some illegal workers on a path toward U.S. citizenship angered many conservatives in his party. He later said Congress should focus on border security first.

Washington Times

Sen. John McCain said yesterday that Republicans have shed support among Hispanic voters because of the party's get-tough approach to illegal immigration, but he predicted that his enforcement-then- legalization approach will rebuild those bridges.

McCain's trouble is not just that be betrayed Hispanics on immigration, it's that he betrayed Hispanics to appease the Conservatives in his party who are adamantly opposed to any real solution to America's broken immigration solution. I have stated before that McCain cannot have it both ways. He will have to decide which constituency is more important to his presidential ambitions. McCain's press conference made it very clear yesterday that he has chosen the conservative wing of the Republican Party over Hispanics. His change on immigration is a clear signal to Conservatives that he is willing to reform himself to their standards as noted in yesterday's The Hill in an article by Alexander Bolton, McCain courts right wing.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will launch a new push Tuesday to ingratiate himself with social conservatives who mistrust him but whose support is vital to his hopes of winning the White House.

Right-wing leaders, who know he needs their backing, are working on a list of demands to pin him down on choosing judges with a conservative philosophy.

The two sides are engaged in a minuet that will determine the shape of this year's Republican presidential platform.


So how is it that McCain got here? Please take a moment to review what has happened to McCain. McCain won 70% of the Hispanic electorate in Arizona in his previous re-election to the United States Senate in 2004 proving that his previous positions were popular among Hispanics. In 2006, McCain continued to champion immigration reform bucking his national party who chose to alienate Hispanic voters. In 2006, the Republican Party lost both chambers of Congress. McCain pursues his presidential ambitions in 2007. His campaign struggles financially and in the polls. Conservatives attack McCain for supporting immigration. McCain wins Florida by courting Hispanic voters which catapults him as the GOP frontrunner. Guiliani, and Mitt Romney drop out ensuring that McCain is the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party. McCain then chooses to change position on immigration to appease Conservatives. Conservatives continue to attack McCain. McCain continues to seek approval from conservatives.

I know this sounds a bit simplistic, but in a nutshell this sums it up. McCain wins, despite opposition from Conservatives, with the support of Hispanic voters, and he chooses Conservatives over Hispanics. Talk about betrayal. I am convinced that McCain knows that he cannot win the majority of Hispanic voters, and is accepting that he needs to keep his percentage as close to 35% as possible. He probably assumes that his new messaging will deceive just enough Hispanic voters to get him to that percentage. In addition, he has probably learned that Conservatives would rather stay home or skip the presidential contest and vote down ballot, than vote for him. Although most of the media has focused on the Democratic race and the impact that the prolonged Primary will have on the General election, I think the bigger question is why hasn't McCain been able to unite the Republican Party and what danger does this pose to Republicans in the General election?

My prediction is that McCain will not reach 35% support among Hispanic voters in the General election, and that Conservatives will not show up for him in sufficient numbers. It is problem supporting a candidate that you just can't trust. Let's see how the McCain metamorphosis continues.

UPDATE: 

CQ Politics also published a very relevant article on this topic yesterday, McCain's Immigration Pivot.  Read the intro below:

After his immigration overhaul bill collapsed in the Senate last year, John McCain transformed himself into a "border security first" presidential candidate with remarkable speed.

His message, over and over again in the Republican primaries, was that he'd heard the voters. They wanted the borders locked down first, and that would be his first priority as president. He basically stopped talking about the other parts of the Senate bill, like the guest worker program and that "path to citizenship" for millions of illegal immigrants.

That wasn't too surprising while he was competing for Republican votes, but his colleagues who worked with him on the bill - including GOP Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida - always read his remarks as a sign that he'd do the other things later, not that he'd abandoned them entirely.

 

 

McCain can't talk straight!

I have blogged about McCain's efforts to court Latino voters, and the difficulty that his campaign will face as a result of McCain betraying Hispanic immigrants to appease conservative voters during his presidential campaign in the Republican primary. Read here and here for background. This weekend the Andres Oppenheimer comments in his weekly column, The Oppenheimer Report, of the Miami Herald on McCain's ever changing position on immigration as he prepares for a general election.

Hmmm. I smelled a significant shift in McCain's position. From what I recalled, McCain's 2005 immigration reform bill, which he sponsored alongside Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., called for simultaneous measures to secure the border with Mexico and an earned path to legalization for millions of undocumented workers who are already in the United States.

Later, when he was running for the Republican nomination and faced an outcry from the anti-immigration wing of his party, he backpedalled to a two-step immigration approach: He said we must first secure the border, and only then deal with undocumented workers.

Now, it seems, he has retreated even further from his original stand and is proposing a three-step process, in which providing for a path to legalization of millions of undocumented workers would come at the very end.

McCain has enjoyed much appeal and cross-over support in previous elections because of his reputation as a "straight talker" and his commitment to fight for the right causes. It seems that McCain is now willing to do/say whatever it takes to be elected to the nation's highest office. As I have said before, the McCain of today is not the McCain of yesteryear. It is difficult to understand how McCain would choose to deviate from a strategy that has worked so well for him in previous elections to adopt a strategy that has consistently failed the Republican Party. Anti-immigrant rhetoric has not worked for them in the past, did not work for them in this primary season, and will not work for them in the general election.  McCain cannot have it both ways on this issue.  He will need to clearly articulate a position, and eventually lose supporters one way or the other.

Dina Titus Shakes up Nevada Congressional Race

Many moons ago when I was a young High School kid in Las Vegas wanting to conquer the world, I embarked on a quest of enlightenment from many of the nation's most prestigious universities. My plan was to attend as many summer programs and seminars available so that I could learn as much information as possible. I know what you are thinking, and so I will confirm that I was an absolute nerd in High School. However, I quickly realized that a poor kid from the inner-city could not afford such luxuries, so I settled on a much more modest approach of attending at least one program each summer. This more modest approach also incurred significant costs, and so I began seeking help.

One day I received a letter from a State Senator who had heard of my ambitions and wanted to help. She requested me to contact her so that we can explore this further. That, my friends, was the beginning a long friendship with State Senator Dina Titus. Not only did she help me raise money for my summer programs, she also mentored me and demanded that I succeed in these programs. Over the years I have learned so much from her about politics, policy and life. I have the utmost respect and loyalty for her, and admire her passion to fight for her beliefs and her country.

Yesterday, she decided to announce that she will be challenging Congressman Jon Porter for the third congressional district in Nevada, and I couldn't contain my excitement. You see, we here in Nevada suffer from an abundance of incompetent politicians that continuously make living in this great state hard to do. While our Governor may be the poster boy for incompetence, Congressman Porter is a close alternate. Our community desperately needs to shed itself of these two politicians. Jon Porter is one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the country, and so this will be one of the most competitive elections for Congress in the country. Dina is also one of the fiercest campaigners and will make this race exciting to watch.

On another note, during my days at the Nevada State Democratic Party we often made the case that as Nevada goes so goes the nation. I still firmly believe this, and yes this is a fair and balanced opinion from a Nevadan. Dina's announcement attracted a sizable crowd even with only a 24 hours notice, which just further demonstrates the excitement among Democrats in Nevada. Just as important is that Dina brought various factions of the Democratic family together, SEIU and AFSCME, Obama supporters and Clinton supporters, and Millennials and Seniors. State Senator Steve Horsford summed it nicely when he alluded that we may have many voices in the Democratic Party but "We are one family." Many pundits are still questioning whether Democrats will be able to unite in the General election to defeat McCain. The campaign for the Democratic nominee has remained extremely competitive in Nevada, and yet yesterday's showing provided evidence that above all else, Democrats are committed to retaking the White House and defeating Republicans. Let's see if the saying stays true "As Nevada goes so goes the nation."

You can read more about Dina's announcement here and here.

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