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Thursday, June 17, 2004

The Hispanic Vote Is Key

If you've been reading this space, you are well aware the the Hispanic vote will be a crucial factor in this year's election, but just in case you haven't absorbed the point, here is some analysis from UPI via Hispanic Business Magazine:

Projections from the Los Angeles-based National Association of Elected Latinos and Appointed Officials, or NALEO, indicate that 6.9 million voters of Hispanic origin will vote in the U.S. presidential election on November 2. The organization stated that this figure represents a total of 6.1 percent of the country's total electorate, an increase of almost 1 million registered voters (17 percent), in contrast to the 2000 elections, when 5.9 million people of Latin origin voted, 5.4 percent of the electorate.

NALEO political analyst Efrain Escobedo told Tiempos del Mundo that the participation of Hispanic voters in the 2004 presidential election will for the first time in U.S. history have a significant impact in some states where a very tough election is expected. Escobedo observed, "The Hispanic vote is key, and a decisive percentage of votes in electoral battle states, like Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and California." It is hardly a coincidence that the states Escobedo named as decisive battlegrounds are mostly in the southern states, their proximity to Mexico attracting large numbers of Hispanics.

Florida is particularly significant; it was there that the 2000 presidential election was decided, by a margin of 537 votes cast in favor of the current president, George W. Bush. Escobedo believes that the state will have the same importance in the 2004 election, as it has been projected that almost 800,000 Latinos will vote, an increase of nearly 200,000 voters.

...the leadership of both major parties has realized the potential benefits of co-opting the Latino vote, and both parties are earnestly searching for policies to guarantee that Hispanics help them capture key "battleground" states.

(emphasis added).

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