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Democrats Lose Hold on Latinos and Women as Party's Base Drifts

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In the final stretch of this volatile and polarizing midterm election, while the beleaguered Democrats duck to ward off an approaching Republican steamroller, rippling cracks are widening in two of the most reliable and loyal Democratic voting blocs, women and Latinos.
The past several weeks have exposed troubling frustration, anger and apathy among white Democratic female voters and among Latino Democrats. More alarming for Democrats than the "enthusiasm gap" between Democrats and Republicans is emerging evidence that women and Latinos are drifting away from their longtime political home and moving across the line toward the GOP. (Democrats are also losing support among independents, Roman Catholics, college graduates, the 30-44 demographic and suburbanites, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll published Oct. 28.)
As if this trend needed underscoring, the GOP this year put together a stronger lineup of Hispanic candidates for major office than the Democrats did. In fact, in the 74 elections this year for governor or U.S. Senate, there is not a single Democratic Hispanic nominee – not a one. At the same time, the GOP fielded three top-tier Hispanics in predominantly blue states, and all three candidates are leading in Senate and governor races and are expected to win handily on Nov. 2.
In New Mexico, Nevada and Florida, Latino Republicans are ahead with platforms highlighting hot-button issues such as jobs, the economy, taxes, the deficit, and immigration. They've done so despite their support for tougher anti-illegal immigration measures like the Arizona law opposed by many Latinos.
Susana Martinez, a 50-year-old county district attorney in New Mexico, is likely to become the first female Hispanic governor in the country. She would succeed Bill Richardson, the nation's only Hispanic governor, who is retiring. Martinez favors lower taxes, less spending, tighter border security and, like most tea party-backed candidates, she is pro-life and anti-gay marriage. She is expected to get 30 percent of the Latino vote, which is high for a Republican in New Mexico. In a recent Rasmussen poll, she had widened her lead over Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, 51 percent to 41 percent.
In Florida, Marco Rubio, a 39-year-old son of Cuban exiles and former state legislator, leads a three-way race for the U.S. Senate. A tea party favorite, Rubio is ahead of U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, a black Democrat, and Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running as an independent after Rubio defeated him for the GOP nomination. Rubio's lead in a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday is at 42 percent to Crist's 35 percent and Meek's 15 percent. Pollsters and pundits are predicting he will become the only Hispanic Republican -- and only the second Latino -- in the U.S. Senate come January.
In a less flamboyant race, Brian Sandoval, a 47-year-old former federal judge, is expected to become Nevada's first Hispanic governor. He holds a comfortable lead over Rory Reid, the son of Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader who is in a deadlocked race with tea party candidate Sharron Angle. A recent Rasmussen poll had Sandoval leading Rory Reid, 56 percent to 37 percent.
The Hispanic Republican surge, buoyed by the Republican wave across the nation, comes amid signs that the nation's 19.3 million Latino registered voters are lukewarm toward the Democrats this year. A Pew Hispanic Center Study found that 51 percent planned to vote, compared to 70 percent of all U.S. voters. Latinos make up about 10 percent of the nation's electorate and turn out to vote in fewer numbers than other voters, but their vote can make or break races in states including California and Florida, Texas and New York, where many of the country's Latino voters reside.
The expected Hispanic GOP victories in Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, and in U.S. House races in Texas, Idaho, and Washington State, where Republican Latinos are trying to wrest incumbent Democrats off their congressional seats, are red flags warning Democrats that the Latino vote is not, if it ever was, a lock.
Neither is the women's vote.
Poll after poll this fall has documented the decline in enthusiasm among white Democratic female voters, suggesting that a number may stay home this year. Women haven't been as attentive as men and have expressed frustration and anger at the trajectory of the nation, namely the economy and the intractable political division in Washington.
But polls find that Republican women are the most enthusiastic among registered female voters.
With Sarah Palin leading conservative GOP women and carrying the tea party banner, female Republican candidates like Susana Martinez have grabbed much of the attention this year.
Headliners among them are Sharron Angle in Nevada, who might unseat Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader; Nikki Haley, a South Carolina Republican likely to win the State House; the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina, who is in a tight battle with Sen. Barbara Boxer in California. In New Hampshire, Kelly Ayotte is leading in the Senate race, and Mary Fallin is leading in the all-female governor's race in Oklahoma.
The marked Democratic women's shift toward the Republicans has been relatively recent, as of the last month. A New York Times/CBS poll in mid-September showed women favored Democrats over Republicans by seven percentage points. But in the most recent New York Times/CBS poll on Thursday, women said they were likely to support a Republican over a Democrat by four percentage points.
Looking beyond Nov. 2, the Democrats may not only have to live with major Republican victories in the Senate, House and governorships, but they will have to face and try to mend the crucial fractures in the party's coalition.

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286 Comments

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catalogsplus

The left has pretty much lost our latino family for good. The policy continues to skew too far to the liberal left which plays more and more against our religion and family values. And I am sure I speak for many latino families.

October 30 2010 at 8:00 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
sfamilyent

So, have the progressives pushed the Democratic party agenda too far to the left? Or, are the Republicans succeeding in their efforts to pin the blame of economic situation on the Democrats? What is causing traditionally Democratic supporters to become disillusioned?

October 30 2010 at 6:27 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
helaine735

This article is so full of it. Why would Latinos move to the Right? The Right is going to deport their relatives. While the Bleeding Liberals want to give them the world.

October 30 2010 at 1:04 PM Report abuse -10 rate up rate down Reply
da2jetstew

This is a eye opener, even if you are pro tea party or the most liberal of democrats. White,Latino,African/American women,and in particlar young professional woman are starting to identify themselfs more with Michelle Obama or Sarah Palin. To some extent young woman see even Christine Mcdonnell, not for thier politics but for the symbolism of a young woman taking on the establisment elite. They see fresh women overcoming the media and personal barriers. Instead of long term incumbent woman seamlessly in lock step with whatever current administration. Many Young diverse professinal woman see goverment more as a unhinged door then a glass ceiling or "Good Ole Boys Club"

October 30 2010 at 12:58 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
storyphilbarb

Finally, it is happening ! The women and the Hispanic community are finally becomming peoples who think for themselves ! This is awsome news ! For too long women have followed their husbands to the poles and voted exactly how their spouse has directed them to vote. Hispanic people have been following the media's "expert" (lol) advise for years, that is a shame because they have so much to offer America. I say horray for Women, horray for the independant Hispanic, go for it !!

October 30 2010 at 12:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
reignmond

Election night will show the current polling models are flawed and have been since 2008. I work in a building where advance voting has been going-on for some time. Registered Democrats are the most common voter. The pundits are saying that the Republican Tea Party is highly motivated and Democrats are not. I say bull! The Republicans are rabid. However the Democrats, who realize that the survival of our country and freedom rely on the insane Right not gaining control, have been quietly voting in numbers. Democrats have a tendency to poll lower that Republicans as a matter of course; and they never “seem” as excited, they are a more composed group by nature. My “guess” is that to any poll result you should add ~ 4%+ to the Democrat’s numbers. P.S. What happened to the Republican Party members that I would vote for in the past? Did they ALL drink the Kool-aid? This is the first time in 30+ years I have voted a straight Democratic ticket. The future of America depends on no radicals, separatists, special interests (The Family), anarchists, supremacists, or fascists in our government.

October 30 2010 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shirley

Nothing has changed my mind, I still stand behind Obama! 8 years of Bush economics and our country in a total diaster, why do the American people think Obama can clean it up in 2 years? There has been nothing but hate all over the internet by those who call themselves Americans, if you are truly American, stand behind Obama and support him in what he is trying to do. You Republicans when are you going to wake up and see your leaders only watch out for big corp money? Demcocrates have always tried to watch out for the little guy, Sadly by the time Democrates get into office, it takes years to clean up Republicans mess and laws that protected corporations.

October 30 2010 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
storyphilbarb

Well listen to the birds sing !! Of course they are losing long time support ! This party cannot push law down America's throat and exspect any other outcome to their socialistic power ! Turn a deaf ear to Americans and they will cut your cachinga's off ! The Dem's. are about to feel the full force of American citizens might ! Good-bye Dem's, hello "lame duck " President. Now we have to get to work getting all "their" idiotic bills repealed !

October 30 2010 at 12:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
trucking4crete

i am not surprised with the drft,, dems have shown them selfes to be all talk,, no results,,, women and latinos are interested in thier families the future of thier children, and security, what the dems have done is,,provide insecurity,, for latinos they have left a HUGE ? mark, for the safty of thier children and families,the dems have pushed anger between races,and created an atmosphere of instability,for the future,, for woman of all races, watching the future dwindle to goverment handouts,,and no moral,foundation, is a issue that most of us can not except,, it is time to return to manors,,compassion,,concern,,economic stability, and loyalty to this country, the dems have divided the nation,,, put us at risk with monumental debt,, fear of loosing our homes,jobs, health care,, and fear of cartels slipping threw the boarder,

October 30 2010 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
thelosososkid

NO - N0 - NO !!! Especially the "youth vote." Keep voiting Democratic and for The Obama. THE OBJECT LESSEN HAS JUST BEGUN. For the next 15 years, no jobs, no work, no money, no opportunity! This will serve the Obama youth vote well. This will be even better than a college education. Home to live with your parents.

October 30 2010 at 12:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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