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February 29th, 2008
11:29 AM ET

Texas Hispanics Focus on Obama

The night before the CNN-Univision Democratic presidential debate in Austin, Texas, a group of Hispanic democrats, aged 35 and older, participated in focus groups in Houston.  They watched political ads featuring Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and questioned the details behind Obama’s “change” message. Specifically, the Hispanic men, who were interviewed separately from the women, pondered if Obama was telling people what they wanted to hear or was there something more.

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Leslie Sanchez book- Los Republicanos: Why Hispanics and Republicans need each other

To these Tejano voters, health care remained a top priority, not immigration reform, which according to a couple of the group’s participants whom I interviewed, was a surprise to the moderator. She asked whether Obama’s health care plan, which reportedly fails to insure 15 million people, would kill their support for his candidacy, and if celebrity endorsements (the likes of comedian George Lopez) would influence their vote.  Neither point proved important.  It is interesting to note that George Lopez stumped yesterday in El Paso.   (See it here)

More importantly, the group was energized by another issue. Assuming Barack Obama became the party’s presidential nominee, how could a man who never so much as served in the National Guard compete against a Prisoner of War (John McCain)? Their answer: not well. A third of the respondents were military veterans.For the participants in the focus group, and one may suspect for the larger electorate, a conflict exists between ethnic identity and service in the military.

In a state where Republican candidates and Mexican American voters have built a strong alliance around issues of defense and national security, these opposing sentiments foreshadow a conflict for conservative Hispanic Democrats, particularly veterans, that could create problems for Democrats nationally.

– Leslie Sanchez, Impacto Group LLC


Filed under: Leslie Sanchez • Raw Politics
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Barb

    Obama is a bag of wind, that is why he blows people off when he is done with them. I would not trust a word he says . He is on the CNN protection plan, and gets away with far too much from his past.

    May 17, 2008 at 6:31 pm |
  2. donovan

    Dear Leslie,

    Latins by thier very Nature are Nationalistic, However; they are not
    Coy or Stupid. They have and will asses Barack on his merits
    and John McCains on Bush"s. Do not assume that the Latino(a)'s
    are weak because they are Loyal, Ignorant because they silent,
    Latins in Texas are the same as Latins anywhere else, and very
    much the same as anyone else, white, black or yellow and should never be taken for granted.

    The GOP had best seriously address thier Party's Platform and
    its catastrophic failure, its betrayal of the Trust that we all as
    Americans have witnessed. Leslie, has fallen out of step with
    the real issues in the Latin Community...and everywhere else...

    40 Acres and a Mule...

    May 9, 2008 at 1:46 pm |

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