Posted on November 3, 2010

Hispanic Rejection of Anti-Immigrant Campaigning Helps Democrats Keep Senate

Press Release, La Raza, November 3, 2010


November 3, 2010


Jackeline Stewart

(202) 785-1670

Latino share of electorate continues to increase

Washington, DC–Latino voters proved pivotal in several hotly contested midterm elections, including in Nevada, Colorado, and California, and likely helped Democrats retain their majority in the United States Senate. According to exit polls, Latino voters contributed significantly to the margin of victory in the Senate and gubernatorial contests in California and Colorado, as well as, most notably, the Senate race in Nevada between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Assemblywoman Sharron Angle. In addition, initial exit poll reports suggest that Latinos, motivated by the widespread anti-immigrant tone of many campaigns, increased their share of the electorate in several states. These results confirm an earlier report on Latino voters by NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, which projected that an additional 700,000 Latino voters could participate in this election.

“Latino voters sent a loud and clear message this election: We reject the politics of fear and demonization. Where candidates engaged in the shameful scapegoating of immigrants and tactics that transparently disrespected Hispanics, such as in Nevada and Colorado, the response from Hispanic voters was overwhelming,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR. “Latinos in 2010 reaffirmed their influential role in American politics, both as voters and as candidates, which will only increase in future elections. Political leaders and parties that demonize or take Latino voters for granted are taking a great risk.”

“This was also an historic election for Latinos with the win of Susana Martinez in New Mexico, the first Latina ever to be elected as governor. And with the elections of Brian Sandoval as governor in Nevada and Marco Rubio as senator in Florida, it is clear that Latinos are forces to be reckoned with in both parties,” noted Murguía. On the voting front, Latino voters in these and other states affirmed that candidates and positions matter in their voting choices.

With an unemployment rate higher than the national average, Latinos placed jobs at the top of their priorities, with immigration acting as an energizing force. In fact, immigration was cited as the top issue in several polls–an historic first, but unsurprising given the extensive use of anti-immigrant tactics during this campaign season. Additional information on Latino voter concerns and motivations is available in an election-eve poll of likely Latino voters conducted by Latino Decisions and sponsored by NCLR in collaboration with the Service Employees International Union and America’s Voice.

“As we look to a new Congress, Latinos are demanding real solutions from political leaders on the economy, jobs, and immigration, and we want their commitment to stop demonizing immigrants and Hispanics for political gain. Both parties now share the responsibility of leading and producing results. It’s time to govern,” concluded Murguía.