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Consider all the primary-era bullshit spin we heard the first half of this year, and none was more offensive to me than the notion that Latinos wouldn't support Obama because (a) he was black, or (b) they supported Clinton too heavily, or (c) because McCain had a good relationship with that group based on his pre-flip flop support for comprehensive immigration reform, or (d) because that's what the b.s. convention wisdom told them and they were too frackin' stupid to think for themselves.

We've already seen evidence that the CW was terribly awry on this issue.

There was a growing consensus during the Democratic primary season that Obama was going to struggle with Latino voters -- due to the exit polls, his race, and McCain’s immigration stance. In fact, in that now-famous conference call in which Hillary Clinton indicated that she would be open to serving as Obama’s running mate, that response was spurred by concern by New York Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D) that Obama was going to have trouble with Latinos. But it looks like that CW -- at least right now -- was wrong. In addition to our recent NBC/WSJ poll, which showed Hispanics breaking for Obama 62%-28%, a new survey of 800 Latino voters from 21 states finds that 60% of them plan to vote for Obama versus 23% for McCain. That is down considerably from the 40%-plus Bush received in 2004. It’s no longer fair to say that Obama has a problem with Latino voters; McCain does. This was a case of conventional wisdom that was never based on fact, just semi-informed speculation based on primary exit polling and bad stereotypes of Latinos.

Gallup now offers additional evidence that Latinos, in fact, are poised to support Obama in record numbers:

Some political experts assumed Obama's struggle to attract widespread Hispanic support in the primaries would carry over into the general-election campaign against the Republican candidate. But Hispanics have become a reliable Democratic voting bloc, and have so far shown little difficulty in transferring their loyalties from Clinton to Obama. Obama continues to lead McCain by about a 2-to-1 margin among Hispanic voters, as he has since March. Hispanic voters could be crucial in key swing states such as New Mexico, Colorado, and Florida.

While George W. Bush made a strong push for the Hispanic vote in the 2000 and 2004 elections, McCain faces an uphill climb to attract Hispanics' support, given their consistent and solid support for Obama in recent months.

Remember, Kerry won the Latino vote in 2004 only 53-44 per the exit polls. Latinos have been one of the biggest swing demographics in recent years. They are not as reliably Democratic as some believe. Yet here we are, already showing a 30-point lead and one that I'm willing to bet grows. It'll be at least 70-30 by election night, if not 75-25.

This, of course, matters greatly because, in short, us Latinos are growing stronger by the year.

oting by Hispanics surged in the last congressional elections, showing strength that could swing this year's presidential vote in closely contested states like Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.
A government report released Tuesday shows that 5.6 million Hispanics voted in the 2006 general election, an increase of 18% over 2002, the previous year for a federal election without a presidential race on the ballot. That compares to a 7% increase among white voters and a 5% increase for black voters.

"For years they called the Latinos the sleeping giant. Well, they woke us up," said Luis Vera, general counsel for the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC.

Vera said the debate over illegal immigration has energized Hispanic voters, a trend he expects to continue this year.

There's a reason Karl Rove worked so hard with Bush to try and bring over that demographic -- which is socially very conservative -- over to the GOP.

Also in the interview, Rove worried that after the recent immigration debate, the Republican Party risks losing the Hispanic political support that he and Bush worked to build up in the past three elections, going back to their days inTexas.

"I am worried about it, and you cannot ignore the aspirations of the fastest-growing minority in America. We did that once before, and that's why we were able to increase our vote among African Americans by 40 percent between 2000 and 2004, going from an incredibly anemic 9 percent to a virtually anemic 13 percent. And we better not put ourselves in the place with a vital part of the electorate that fundamentally shares our values and views."

Obama is poised to win Latinos huge, and with them, the states of Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and maybe even Florida. Smaller Latino populations are helping lock down Oregon, Wisconsin and Washington (and of course California), will play a role in Missouri and Ohio (which will likely remain tight through election day), and may even help drag Texas into contention.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Jul 02, 2008 at 03:35 PM PDT.

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