Thursday, July 03, 2008

Obama and the Hispanics

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Remember back during the primaries when Hillary was pretty much trouncing Obama among Hispanic voters and there was all that talk about how Hillary's success among Hispanics contributed to her so-called "electability" and how doing so poorly among Hispanics would be a big problem for Obama come general election time?

Yeah, well... here's Gallup:

Hispanic registered voters' support for Barack Obama for president remained consistent and strong in June, with Obama leading John McCain by 59% to 29% among this group.

While Hispanics generally preferred Hillary Clinton to Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, a solid majority of Hispanics have consistently backed Obama against McCain in general-election trial heats. Obama has led McCain by about a 2-to-1 margin since Gallup began tracking general-election voting preferences in early March.

I don't want to say I told you so -- after all, I don't know who you are -- but, well, I told you so. McCain has some support among Hispanics because, unlike most Republicans, he isn't completely crazy (in that xenophobic sort of way that characterizes so much of the nativist GOP) when it comes to immigration -- he worked with Ted Kennedy on a compromise bill, but it's not quite clear where he stands on the issue now, what with all the flippin' and floppin' and panderin' -- but Obama is clearly much more attractive to them, given his positions on the Iraq War, the economy, and other key issues.

Besides, it was clear all along, if not so much to the short-sighted and narrow-minded punditocracy, that Obama was only doing poorly among Hispanics relative to Hillary, not in absolute terms. Hispanics may have preferred her to him, but that never meant that they preferred anyone to him, let alone a warmongering faux maverick who sucks up to the GOP's right-wing base like McCain. Remember that Hillary, like Bill, is especially strong among Hispanics. But now, with the long and sometimes bitter Democratic race over and done with, "Hispanics of differing demographic backgrounds all tend to solidly support Obama."

Which, needless to say, bodes well for November.

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