Newsweek: Did Hispanics Save Harry Reid?

Ben Smith and Carrie Budoff Brown of The Politico have just written a piece about the importance of the Hispanic vote for 2012, Marc Lacey and Julia Preston of The New York Times  have written a piece on the Hispanic vote being the highest it has ever been in a mid-term election, but what is also garnering attention is how much this voting block helped Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in his bid to retain his Senate seat in Nevada.

Newsweek has the full story HERE:

According to election-eve polling and analysis by Latino Decisions, a surveying firm, Hispanics chose Reid over Angle 90 percent to 8 percent—an astounding margin. CNN’s exit polls showed a significantly smaller spread, with Reid winning 68 percent to Angle’s 30 percent.

But Latino Decisions argues that exit-polling methodology is typically inaccurate at measuring voting by Hispanics and other subgroups. The firm also contends that exit polls tend to lowball Latino turnout.

Still, CNN’s figures show that Hispanics constituted 15 percent of the Nevada electorate this year, a notable increase over the last midterm cycle, in 2006, when they made up 12 percent. “Latinos certainly saved Harry Reid,” says Gary Segura, a member of Latino Decisions and a professor at Stanford University.

Another important take away from the election is that like any constituency, Hispanic's react badly to being demonized:

Hispanics’ resounding rejection of Angle should come as no surprise. Her harsh ads depicting undocumented immigrants as shady gangbangers and calling Reid “the best friend illegal aliens ever had” infuriated Hispanics in Nevada and beyond.

And her remark before a group of Latino schoolkids that some of them “look Asian” invited heaps of ridicule. Yet her campaign evidently made a calculus: that alienating Hispanic voters mattered less than galvanizing conservative, get-tough-on-the-border whites. That may have been a critical misstep.

Hopefully, the idea that a candidate can be elected by alienating an entire portion of their electorate, can be laid to rest with the utter failure of Angle's campaign. This strategy has severely weakened the Republican brand with Hispanic's nationally:

One thing is clear: Hispanic disenchantment with Republicans continues to run deep. The Latino Decisions analysis found that Hispanics sided with Democrats over Republicans by 76 percent to 24 percent. Amid all the GOP high-fiving, that should be a sobering data point for Republicans—and an encouraging one for otherwise despondent Democrats.