Thursday, February 7th, 2008

2G2K Circus :: More Analysis On Latino/AsAm Vote But By Experts This Time

Today’s SF Chron had good reporting and analysis on the Latino and Asian American votes. You can access the full article here.

Wanted to pull some excerpts. First, some more data, and Barack’s ‘spinion:

Clinton won a majority of Latino votes in several states with high proportions of Latino voters, including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and – the biggest prize – California, where she beat Obama 2-1 among Latinos, according to an MSNBC exit poll. And she drew votes from about 75 percent of Asian American Democrats in California, who represent about 8 percent of the state’s total Democratic vote, according the MSNBC exit poll.

But Obama did well with Latino voters in his home state of Illinois (JEFF NOTE: CNN’s exit poll, shows he took 58% of 30-44…), as well as in Connecticut, and he took more than 40 percent of Latino votes in Arizona, the exit poll shows.

“We actually made enormous progress last night,” Obama said at a news conference Wednesday in Chicago. “You take a look at a state like Arizona, where we got somewhere in the low 40s with the Latino vote, and it indicates what I suggested earlier after the Nevada contest, which is as Latino voters get to know me, we do better.

“And so it’s just a matter of us getting more information to them, doing the kind of advertising that we had the resources to do leading up to Super Tuesday. When they receive that information, they realize that I’m somebody who’s going to be battling for all people, including the Latino vote.”

Here’s David Ayon, from the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount on the upcoming race in Texas, pertinent also to Cali:

But Ayón doubts Obama will capture the Lone Star state’s Latinos, given Clinton’s advantage.

“It’s a real hard sell. The only advantage he has in Texas is, he’s got money and he’s got time. But he’s unknown,” said Ayón. “The Clintons have really worked this ground. They’re able to stage events, work those networks, get the machinery going. What Obama’s doing everywhere is building an organization from scratch. And that’s a lot harder to do in a large state.”

On the question of time and on-the-ground organizers, I wanted to point out a comment posted below from an old colleague John Delloro, now a union organizer and activist (also check out the comment by Monxo & Libertad):

Because the key to Obama’s campaign success is its ground operation that is based on a grassroots community organizing model (a la Marshall Ganz), any time the campaign treads the traditional top-down and tested electoral campaign approach the Obama campaign falters in that area. I don’t believe the kind of structure that existed in S.Carolina and Iowa existed in AA/PI immigrant L.A. or Latina/o L.A. If SEIU in LA had switched for Obama earlier and hit the ground, that structure would most likely would have existed. the past L.A. Latina/Labor alliance electoral work has proven this to be true. Maria Elena Durazo got involved with the Obama campaign without the usual footsoldiers she has on hand to make things happen. I don’t believe it is just a case of whether a particular community has reached a particular zeitgeist of generational insurgency but the presence or absence of grassroots organization in particular communities.

On the Asian Am vote, some thoughts from one of my mentors, Don Nakanishi, at the Asian American Studies Center, speaking to API emergence:

Clinton also has emphasized her commitment to Asian Americans, locking down several important Asian American politicians, said Don Nakanishi of UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center. Last year, for example, Clinton landed support from Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, who chairs Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Hillary.

“The vote doesn’t surprise me at all,” Nakanishi said, noting that Clinton has strong roots in the community. “But there was a very active core of young Asian Americans who are very supportive of Obama, trying to raise his visibility.”

Obama, who grew up in Hawai’i and has Asian family members, has made his multi-ethnic roots part of the political campaign. Last week, his Chinese Canadian brother-in-law, Konrad Ng, addressed Asian American voters, telling them that their perspective is important to Obama.

Although small compared to the Latino vote, the Asian American vote is gaining clout. The Asian American Studies Center estimates that between the years 2000 and 2005, the number of Asian Americans eligible to vote in California increased from 2 million to 2.5 million, pushing the Asian American share of the proportion of the state’s voters to 12 percent.

“They also developed this reputation of being the new source of financial contributions, so they are being courted by political campaigns,” Nakanishi said.

BTW Don’s point about Doris Matsui prompts me to realize that the glaring hole in my piece and most of the discourse in the MSM and the blogosphere is that no one has thought to talk about the possibility of a huge gender gap in California’s Latino and Asian American electorates, in turnout and in choice. Anyone care to comment on this or point us in the direction of some commentary?

And finally, this from Rafael Sonenshein, an expert on race and politics in Los Angeles and California who has done pioneering studies on Tom Bradley’s and other campaigns:

“People say Latinos won’t vote for a black candidate. Well, sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. There are existing tensions, but the way to overcome those is through familiarity, through learning something about a candidate that helps you connect.”

posted by @ 10:27 am | 6 Comments

6 Responses to “2G2K Circus :: More Analysis On Latino/AsAm Vote But By Experts This Time”

  1. sidewalk_sotol says:

    I’m raising a point that I think we often ignore, but which is important to think about: who are Latinos?

    I think the assumption of most writers in the English language is that “Latinos” refers to a racial group when, in fact, most people who trace some ancestry to Latin America are people who include descendents of African slaves (or enslaved Africans), Asians, indigenous people of North and South America, and/or Western European (Spaniards, French, Germanic, Italian, etc.) So can we assume that “Black” people does not include “Latinos?” Or does “Black” only mean people of African descent who don’t identify with any (predominantly) Spanish or Portuguese-speaking country?

  2. Zentronix says:

    A supremely fair and on point question.

    I think the assumption of the commentators in the SF Chron article is that they’re speaking about Chicanos/Mexicanos, not Salvadorans or Guatemalans. Monxo is talking below about Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in New York and Jersey. If we’re in Miami, it’s complicated again by Cubanos. And I know I’m simplifying ridiculously here!

    I do regret the shorthand I’ve been using. I’m ready to talk all day about the diversity of Latinos (Hispanics to respect all you East Coasters), not to mention Asian Americans, Pilipinos, and Pacific Islanders. (And believe me, I’ve done it.)

    But I think even if you factor in ethnicity and panethnicity, my theory can still hold up.

  3. Anonymous says:


    actually, asian americans are not overly democratic in california. according to statistics, the breakdown is 30% republican,30% independent, and 40% democrats. A main reason is the Asian community is not monolithic voting bloc.

  4. Zentronix says:

    All the studies I’ve seen since the 2000 elections have APIs going Dem, by anywhere from a majority, to 2-1. Here’s but one summary. I’ve got more.:

    What’s your source?

  5. Brother OMi says:

    speaking as an Afro Latino, i can say this. Several Latinos (i am lumping Chicanos, Puerto ricans, dominicans, Chileans, and other decendants from Latin America here) from the older generation don’t have any particular love for African Americans. so voting for Obama is not on their agenda.

    maybe you guys are overanalyzing that situation. it could be as simple as the idea that a good number of those groups are not voting for Obama because he is black.

  6. Zentronix says:

    I realize this won’t satisfy any of yall who like your answers simple (even though I thought mine pretty much was). But here’s a frickin’ multiple-regression analysis! Rrrrrrraaaah!!!

Previous Posts

Feed Me!





Email list:

Add me to the Can't Stop Won't Stop email list for updates and thangs:



Upcoming Appearances

For a complete list of Jeff's appearances, check Dates.