An old, old friend who is a major voice in conservative politics in this country agreed with this when we spoke about the election today (he was obviously a lot happier today than me). He also agreed that if the GOP needs to understand that the voter anger over economy gave them a short term opportunity to retake power, but that maintaining that power when things get back to normal will depend on broadening their coalition to include Hispanics.
Anyway, here's the news from National Council of La Raza:
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.
Several pro-immigration groups commissioned the last minute very detailed poll of Hispanic voters in eight states. The link for the poll can be found here.