Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The real voting bloc at play

Watching the CNN coverage tonight, the dominant theme about West Virginia seems to be those white, working class voters. The one that Clinton wins consistently against Obama, the one that puts her over the top in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and similar states...a swing bloc in swing states. I've seen some threads whereby Obama backers, assuming the race is run, are seeking advice on courting those voters.*

But to me, that overlooks the other major key to Hillary's past success, a bloc that the Washington Monthly calls the "real prize": Hispanic votes. Rove and Bush saw their criticality, and I agree that this is the major bloc up for grabs. Clinton won 2/3 of the Latino vote on Super Tuesday, for example. It's a consistent pattern...it's what kept her close in Texas, California, and most any state with a Hispanic population.

Through it all, I'm more interested in the Latino vote. It's growing by election, not only as the Hispanic portion of the American population grows, but as does that proportion in the American electorate. Furthermore, I don't see a solid habit yet, a cultural alignment. I think it's more up for grabs, with less institutional, fiscal, and financial investment needed to shift it. I'm not sure how Obama looks to fare in the general with Latino votes, but that will make a difference in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and possibly Florida. I wouldn't mind seeing a bit more on that...

*It's not entirely unreasonable to ask about these white, working class voters. They're the reason Hillary does 14 points better than Obama against McCain in North Carolina.

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