News / USA

Republican Success Among Hispanics Mixed

Among the big Republican winners in Tuesday's election were three prominent Hispanics, who won two governorships and a senate race. But the overall Hispanic vote still favored Democrats and Republicans may have trouble making gains with this fast-growing segment of voters in future elections.

Tuesday was a big day for Hispanic Republicans, with Brian Sandoval winning the governorship of Nevada and Susana Martinez becoming the first woman governor of New Mexico and the first female Hispanic governor of any state. She celebrated that victory in Las Cruces, New Mexico Tuesday night.

"Tonight we have made history. Together we have taken a decisive step toward bringing bold change to New Mexico," she said.

Martinez won in a state that has trended towards Democrats in recent elections partly by riding the wave of discontent with Democrats that led to GOP victories nationwide. Party leaders hope her Hispanic name and background will help them recruit more Hispanics in the years ahead.

They have similar hopes for another rising Hispanic star, Marco Rubio, who celebrated his senate victory in Florida Tuesday with a nod to his upbringing in the Cuban exile community. "I know America is great not because I read it in a book, but because I have seen it with my eyes. I have been raised in a community of exiles, of people who lost their country, of people who know what it is like to live somewhere else. By the way, it is a community that I am proud to be a part of," he said.

Many observers believe Hispanic Republican stars like Martinez and Rubio could help remind Latino voters of values they share with conservatives. Mark Jones, Chairman of the Political Science Department at Rice University says only one issue stands in the way of Republican gains with Hispanics.

"If we take the immigration issue out, more Hispanics identify with some policies of the Republican Party than with the Democratic Party, in terms of family values, the role of the family in general, issues of gay rights and abortion. You have many Hispanic business owners who are also not wild about large government regulation," he said.

But Jones says Republicans will have a hard time modifying their stance on immigration reform because many of the people elected to Congress Tuesday are hardcore conservatives who believe in strict enforcement of immigration laws and who oppose any move that would amount to an amnesty for those who entered the country illegally.

"They want their version of immigration reform, which is cracking down heavily on undocumented workers here in the United States or nothing. They are going to be very tough to bring over. Likewise, the Democratic Party is unlikely to do the Republicans, such as John Boehner, any favors by lending a hand to ally with moderate Republicans to support compromise legislation," he said.

Recent public opinion polls show that immigration is also an issue that divides Hispanics to some extent, with older, more established voters being less supportive of reform than many younger people or people who recently immigrated to the United States. Opinions on the issue are also stronger among Mexican-Americans than with Latinos from other areas like Cubans and Puerto Ricans.

But Hispanics have reacted negatively to what they perceive as an anti-immigrant attitude among Republicans. Exit polls Tuesday showed around 66 percent of Hispanic voters favored Democrats.

But while Hispanics now represent around 16 percent of the US population, their turnout in Tuesday's midterm election was around eight percent. This reflects a low-voter-turnout trend among Hispanics seen in previous elections as well. But Mark Jones says the power of the Hispanic vote will increase in years ahead as the population grows and younger people enter the voter ranks.

"It is going to be a slow, gradual change as, first, Hispanic children reach the age of 18 and above and then those children actually vote because we know that you cannot vote if you are under age 18, but then the 18-to-25 range also votes very infrequently. So it is going to be a long process," he said.

Jones says, in the 2012 presidential election, Hispanic votes will have the most impact in the southwestern states and in some cities like Chicago where there are large Hispanic communities. But he says the ethnic group's influence nationwide will surely grow in the decades to come as the population expands and the children of immigrants become active voters.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs