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July 8th, 2008
03:54 PM ET

Today's target: Latino voters

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/08/art.mccain.hispanics.jpg caption=" Sen. John McCain, greets audience members after addressing the 79th Annual LULAC Convention, in Washington, Tuesday."]
Barclay Palmer
AC360° Senior Producer

Barack Obama and John McCain speak to Latino voters today, underscoring their plans to boost the economy, and courting Latino voters.

Which is interesting, because you could argue that either of these candidates should already have strong Latino support locked up - but they don't. And, of course, like any and every other vote, the Latino vote will be crucial. Spanish-speaking voters made up 8% of the electorate in '06, and will bigger this year.

A percent here and a percent there, and pretty soon you're talking margins, especially for key contested states… like Florida, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada.

John McCain had been popular among Latinos in past years for his moderate stands on immigration. But he's shifted his emphasis to border security, and polls show his support has cooled. Can he win Latinos over?

Those same polls show Obama ahead of McCain among Latino voters. But his support doesn't run deep. Hillary Clinton did better among them during the primary.

So with Latino voters today, both McCain and Obama are starting at square two.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Barclay Palmer • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Michelle, Spring Valley,CA

    GF- Not all Latinos are "lax" on immigration issues. I'm a Mexican American who has gotten into many a debate with people in my own family about immigration. It's just a tough topic, a very complex issue, but we can't say all Latinos and all "Non Latinos" want the same thing.

    July 9, 2008 at 8:32 am |
  2. Cindy

    Hispanics and Latinos are left out in the cold this election.
    UNLESS Hillary Clinton nabs the nomination in August. She would be their best hope.

    Hispanic voters, are you listening??!

    July 9, 2008 at 2:18 am |
  3. Ana

    I'm a latino high schooler and live in Miami, Florida. I think the candidates are doing a good job spending time trying to get the Latino vote but they are skimming the surface.
    They need to get to the essence of what they are trying to communicate and move on to the other important voting groups in the country. I also think that they should not talk about the latinos as sch a totally different group but rather make them feel part of the rest of the country. The candidate that can make the ends meet in issues that matter to all types of voters, without being sneaky, will win this election. It's all about balance and getting to the deeper issues that affect all americans not only the Latinos.
    We all know Cubans make up most of Miami and they are essentialy Republican by nature so McCain will most likely take the lead, there is no use for Obama trying to reach them. The candidates need to look deeper into what "Latino" means and see that they can sway the votes of other more indeendent Latinos, Colombians, Venezuelans, Mexicans, Panamanians, Argentinians... seriously theres a ton! So dont focus on "Latinos" as an individual group they are also affected by the economy and well, the issues that affect the average american.
    Also, we need to uderstand that the true "Latinos" that are voting are naturalized and therefore have lived in the US for at least 5 years. This means they care about the directin of the country and most probably have grown to think of different issues affecting them. So maybe MCain and Obama are trying to reach the Latinos that can't vote; the image many Americans put on a Latino face, an illegal immigrant that dosn't want to be deported and can't speak english.

    July 9, 2008 at 12:43 am |
  4. ann ingraham

    I am a Latina born in Mexico & raised in California from the age of 6. I am retired & graduated from Univ/Ca – Davis. Not wealthy by any means, but living comfortably. I have always voted democratic & for the working class. But I will not vote for Obama. Primarily because I don't know who he is & frankly he scares me with his excessive affiliation with the Reverand Wright & other extreme anti American individuals. His campaign slogan is for change, but I do not know what that change is. I was against the war in Iraq, but will a premature withdrawal from Iraq leave that strategic Middle East country to terrorist factions & the world in irreversible danger? Will Obama raise taxes to pay for health insurance for all Americans & more government involvement when the average American cans least afford it? Is taxing the oil companies who will only pass the cost to the average consumer a smart move? There will also be no incentive for oil companies to invest that money on new refineries & oil exploration. I firmly believe we as a consumer also need to conserve when it comes to oil consumption & more money must be spent on alternative energy. Well bottom line I am voting for Mc Cain, a Republican, (not my first choice who was Hilary Clinton), but unlike Obama he loves America & served it well. So for the first time since I first voted for an American President Robert Kennedy, decades ago, I am voting for the candidate not the party.

    Sincerely,

    Ann

    July 9, 2008 at 12:42 am |
  5. Fred Stock

    If John McCain wanted to show he is a "true maverick", he should ask Hillary Clinton to be his running mate... it might be a good way for him to gain those Democratic voters who only want to support Clinton, he'd probably gain some independents who would be proving that Republicans can still do that... wouldn't that be interesting?

    July 8, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    Barclay,
    I think with the current move to the center on the part of both candidates its going to be a hard sell as they try to market themselves to the Latinos. I think McCain has a better chance of pulling the Latino vote than Obama does; McCain has years of name recognition going for him and a record that people can look at and get a feel for the type of decisions he would make as President. Obama doesn"t and in his refinement of his message as he positions himself towards the middle it seems like he is losing some of the message he gave when he was running for the primary nomination.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 8, 2008 at 9:44 pm |
  7. Rodney

    The candidates need to focus their attention on the illegal immigration problem in this country .... If not .... The Republicans will never have a balanced budget .... And .... The Democrats will never be able to raise taxes high enough to support illegal aliens .... Eventually in time .... The illegals will drain this country dry.

    July 8, 2008 at 9:31 pm |
  8. PCC

    I have talked to some Latinos and they say they cannot trust Obama...And they said they will be voting for McCain.....I think lot of Latinos feel this way....Obama has shown he go's back on his word and they feel he will on them also.....

    July 8, 2008 at 9:25 pm |
  9. Maritza

    Hispanics, by in large are conservative , in particular social issues, Obama is not, not by a long shot , he's all for late term abortion , horrific, he's voted for it, more recently as with several issues he's taken a double take , confused step back , hmmm can this candidate make sound calls of judgement? Once he's sitting in the White House re-arranging all of the furniture will he fall short to all of the poor brain washed voters that did not do their homework? A very serious mistake, McCain offers a much different alternative for hispanics, although I do not agree, he is more in favor of , pro hispanic issues, and it's not just for the sake of the vote, Obama is all about that, concider his "Change" on a few key issues Iraq is one , does he not think it out , and that is putting it in very primative, simple terms. His entire election is one huge marketing package .

    Maritza

    July 8, 2008 at 6:56 pm |
  10. Teresa, Oh

    The young vote, the old vote, the latino vote..... how bout they just tell the truth about their stand on issues and TRY not change them too much when their campaign peeps say they polls are not looking so good. If we really look at this pandering to each group it is disgusting and down right INSULTING.

    July 8, 2008 at 6:06 pm |
  11. Ruby Coria, LA. CA.

    Barclay, the word "Latino" has a lot of people..me being Mexican, I just hope Obama goes full force on border security! We need it bad, because Latin America means; Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, & so on.. & guess what they all cross through Mexico.. Border Security a must.
    (by the way Mexican media & people did no t like McCain useing "La Vigen de Guadalupe" as his back ground during an-interview..I don't care about that.) Border security. see u.

    July 8, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  12. Jim

    Today's Target : Latino Voters-
    Barclay Palmer – A head line like that at first glance makes one think the Candidates are going after Latino voters with loaded guns .
    Who's tommorrows Target? Independents? Those that have lost their homes to the midwest flooding? the unemployed?

    July 8, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  13. Larry

    Wonder if either of the candidates speaks Spanish?

    July 8, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  14. GF, Los Angeles

    If McCain and Obama pander too much to the Latino vote i.e. start up again with their lax views on illegals, they will lose a lot more votes from non-Latinos.

    July 8, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  15. Cindy

    Well it seems that McCain and Obama both have a lot to work on before election day rolls around! They both not only are courting Latinos but also the independents. And really they aren't doing that great with their own party regulars. They both better get to work it seems! They have a lot of kissing up to do! LOL

    Cindy...Ga.

    July 8, 2008 at 4:07 pm |