Election 2008

Alex Brandon/AP
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., left, smiles with New Mexico
Gov. Bill Richardson, Friday, March 21, 2008, at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Ore.
where Richardson announced his endorsement of Obama. (AP)

Latino Vote Poses Challenges for Both Parties

June 18, 2008 08:59 AM
by Christopher Coats
Despite reports signaling a return to the Democratic Party on the part of Latino voters, both Barack Obama and John McCain are facing an uphill battle in attracting the ever-larger bloc.

30-Second Summary

Though he won the Latino vote in the Republican primary earlier this year, McCain has signaled he has obstacles to overcome in the general election.

The Republican nominee has announced that he will attend the annual convention of the National Council of La Raza, an event he has avoided in past years.

Observers have pointed to the Republican Party’s strict stance on immigration and their “tenor” on border issues as obstacles for McCain in the general election.

While Obama leads nationally among Latino voters against McCain, he has also faced his own set of difficulties, losing the demographic’s overall vote to Clinton in the primary.

Critics have pointed to a number of factors in trying to explain Obama’s relative lack of success among Latino voters, including an alleged “black-brown divide” among Americans of color.

Although Obama received a slim margin of Latino support in most states when competing against Clinton, the prospective Democratic nominee is receiving far more support than the Republican candidate.

This general election shift provides a contrast to the Republican Party’s relationship with the Latino community during the last two national election cycles.

In both 2000 and 2004, Latinos shifted in large numbers to support George W. Bush, and while they have moved towards the Democratic Party in the last two years, support still lags behind what it was in 1999.

After offering 40 percent of their support to Bush in 2004, Latinos started moving toward the Democratic Party once again in 2006.

Headline Links: Obstacles to overcome

Background: Social and party setbacks

Reactions: Reaching out

Opinion & Analysis: A balancing act

Reference: The Latino vote


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines