By Raoul Lowery Contreras (re-posted from Cafe Con Leche Republicans with permission)
Records of every sort fall in the United States like autumn leaves. We now have a record 53 million Hispanics in the USA; the 1950 Census recorded two and a half million people with Spanish surnames.
Every time a Hispanic American baby is born, the Hispanic/Latino population makes another new record. The percentage of American born vis-a-vis foreign born grows with each birth.
Among teenage and adult Hispanics, one in five (19%) are now unemployed or underemployed with over half totally, completely unemployed (11% plus which is 30% higher than the general population). Hispanics suffered a near-mortal economic wound when they lost two-thirds of their personal net worth in the housing crash.
“Latinos’ average net worth fell from $18,000 in 2009 to $6,000 today, while Caucasians(non-Hispanic whites) saw their net worth fall from $134,000 to $113,000,” according to the National Council of La Raza.
One in six Americans is in poverty. The Hispanic population has been buried by poverty. The Pew Research Center concludes that the current Hispanic poverty rate is 28.2%, almost one in three.
Poverty is worse among Hispanic/Latino children. It is in fact a disaster among our young.
For the first time in history, Hispanic poor children outnumber White children, Black children. According to the Pew Research Center Hispanic poor children number 6.1 million, White poor children 5.5 million and Black poor children number 4.4 million.
The percentages look even worse: Hispanic poor children, 37.3%, White poor children 30.5% and Black poor children, 26.6%. Poverty and unemployment/underemployment is a daily catastrophe for the American Hispanic population.
There is another new Hispanic/Latino record to report: According to the Pew Research Center, “A record 24 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the 2012 presidential election, according to analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center…this is up by more than 4 million, or 22%, since 2008, when 19.5 million Latinos were eligible to vote.”
Concurrently, Republican Mitt Romney’s popularity among Swing State (Florida, Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, and Iowa) Hispanics has inched higher to the current 33%, just two points lower than he needs to carry those states with 5 weeks to go before the election.
October 1, “The ImpreMedia – Latino Decisions (national) tracking poll puts Obama ahead with 73% overall to vote for him and 21% for Romney. In the battleground states (However) Obama gets 61% of the voters versus 33% for Romney, with Florida respondents comprising a significant share of Latinos in battleground states.”
Experienced Hispanic vote analysts conclude that if this 61% Obama margin doesn’t improve, Obama will lose the election. He needs, they say, more Hispanics to vote for him than did in 2008 (67%) because so many non-Hispanic White and Independent voters have abandoned the President for myriad reasons.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2011 there were 51.9 million Latinos in the U.S., making up 16.7% of the nation’s population.
Pew: “Latinos today comprise a greater share of the nation’s 215 million eligible voters than they did just a few years ago—-11.0% this year, up from 9.5% in 2008 and 8.2% in 2004.”
A record Hispanic vote helped Obama win in 2008. That continued a long-term Democrat vote trend by Hispanics that started in earnest in California in the 1994 election that featured a Republican Governor (Pete Wilson) sponsored highly discriminatory anti-Mexican “Proposition 187” that passed but was quashed by the federal courts as unconstitutional.
California has elected only three statewide Republicans since 1994, one of them Arnold Schwarzenneger. Republicans were blanked in the 2010 California elections; this, in a state that had elected only two Democrat governors in the first 74 years of the 20th Century. It was no accident that California sent powerful Republicans like Senator Hiram Johnson, Chief Justice Earl Warren, Senator Bill Knowland, Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to Washington.
A skeptical view of Hispanic voting comes from Steve Malanga, Senior Editor of the City Journal who writes, “In the only four states that report such records by ethnicity—-Alabama, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina—-the 2012 registration levels of Hispanics have already surpassed the 2008 levels.”
Malanga doesn’t understand that the national figures don’t matter much, as indicated by Latino Decisions polls in Swing States, states that do matter.
How Puerto Ricans vote in New York is immaterial, for if none voted at all, Democrats would win New York. Democrat Puerto Ricans do count somewhat in Florida; however the larger Republican Cuban American vote largely offsets it, so Florida matters; so does North Carolina and Colorado with their substantial Mexican American votes.
Suffice it to say, that if Romney receives 35% or more of the Hispanic votes in those three states that Obama carried in 2008, he probably wins the Presidency. If that happens, Malanga’s 2007 prediction will be remembered for being totally wrong.
“Given what the voting numbers show us, it’s unlikely that Hispanics will become an important voting bloc as soon as many predict.”
With record Hispanic poverty, unemployment and loss of wealth in the past four years and a record number of Hispanic voters, predicting an Obama victory based on Hispanic votes looks like a 50-1long shot more than an even-money sure thing.
Editors note: as with all blog postings that appear with a by-line, the opinions presented are the author’s and not necessarily the positions of Cafe Con Leche Republicans.
Raoul Lowery Contreras (1941) was born in Mexico, raised in the USA. Former U.S. Marine, athlete, Dean’s List at San Diego State. Professional political consultant and California Republican Party official(1963-65)…Television news commentator, radio talk show host…published Op-Ed writer (1988 to present)…author of 12 books (as of 1-05-12). His books are available on Amazon.com.