Hispanic / Latino

California Governor in Big Trouble With Latinos

Latest news from our ongoing work on Hispanic issues, this Press Release was sent out earlier today.



New Poll Shows Governor trailing 64% - 21% with key group

Washington DC -- A new poll of California Latinos shows a deep dislike of Governor Schwarzenegger.  In this poll of 600 Spanish-dominant likely voters, the governor has higher disapproval ratings than President Bush, and is losing to his opponent Phil Angelides by 64% - 21%.  Spanish-dominant Latino voters make up about 10% of the California electorate, with all Latinos now making up about 18% of the electorate as a whole. 

Download a power point presentation of the poll. 

These new results are consistent with national polls showing a dramatic erosion of support for Republicans in the Hispanic community.  In a recent NDN political fund survey, for example, Republicans trailed Democrats 59% - 23% with Spanish-speaking Latino voters, a dramatic drop for a group that gave at least 40% of their vote to President Bush in 2004.  (Visit to view the survey.)  

These results also confirm a recent Field Poll's finding that the California governor is not only struggling to put together an electoral majority, but also confirms that the Governor is in trouble with the overall Latino community.  In the just released Field Poll the governor topped out at 44% with all voters, and trailed his opponent 42% - 30% with all Latinos.  (Visit  to view the Field Poll).

"Despite being an immigrant himself, Governor Schwarzenegger has completely lost the faith of Latino immigrant voters," said Steve Phillips, President of PowerPAC.  "The depth of dislike for the governor in this increasingly influential community will not be easily reversed and spells trouble for the Republican Party in California for a long time to come."

"The immigration debate this year has turned Latinos across the nation against Republicans," said Joe Garcia, Director of NDN’s Hispanic Strategy Center.  "But here in California, if there is a close election, this deep and intense dislike of the current governor – if tapped into - could be the key to electing a new governor.”

This poll, conducted by Bendixen & Associates on behalf of PowerPAC and the NDN Political Fund, was of likely Hispanic voters in three counties in Southern California – Orange, San Bernardino and San Diego – that are more Republican than other parts of the state.

Some of the key findings include: 

  • Among this audience, Phil Angelides is leading Schwarzenegger 64% to 21%, despite more than half of these voters having no positive or negative opinion of Angelides (54% say he is unknown to them).
  • Schwarzenegger is not only deeply unpopular in these communities, with 69% holding a negative view of him, but he is also seen as untrustworthy. 73% of these voters said they do not trust Schwarzenegger to represent the interests of the Latino community.
  • These voters are concerned about their growing inability to afford a middle-class life in California, listing high cost of living, lack of affordable housing, and high natural gas and electricity bills among their top concerns facing the state. The national debate over immigration is also deeply important to these voters, with nearly 60% saying growing anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiment in the country has affected them and their family.
  • Fully 68% of these voters said the recent comments by Gov. Schwarzenegger, in which he referenced a Latina Assemblywoman as being “very hot” due to her “black blood mixed with Latino blood” were insensitive or racist, with only 26% agreeing the comments were “mostly harmless,” as was the primary reaction portrayed in the media.

NDN is a 21st Century Progressive advocacy and political organization. PowerPAC is a California-based political action committee working to get people of color engaged in politics and into political office at the local and state level.


NDN in the News

Simon is in The Hill today discussing the importance of meaningful immigration reform and the need for Democrats to include it in their new agenda.

Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democrat Network, a political advocacy organization that has spent millions on drawing Hispanic voters into the Democratic Party fold, defended the Democratic record on immigration. Still, he chided leaders for their omission....“Given how much energy and time Democrats have put into trying to pass comprehensive immigration reform, it’s unfortunate that immigration hasn’t made it into the document, because the party has made it a priority,” said Rosenberg......Rosenberg urged Democrats not to run away from the issue of immigration, vowing that it’s a debate they will win over Republicans, many of whom are focusing exclusively on a tough law-and-order approach to illegal immigration....Rosenberg predicted that some Democrats would spend a lot of money highlighting immigration this fall....“We’re going to see a lot of back-and-forth in paid media on immigration,” he said. “We have nothing to fear. We have a plan to solve the problem and [the Republicans] don’t.”

The Washington Monthly on the GOP, Immigration and Hispanics

Rachel Morris has an excellent piece on the battle for Hispanics in the current edition of the Washington Monthly.  The first two graphs set the tone, and it is a piece well worth reading:

"Karl Rove’s storied partnership with George W. Bush, now in its second decade, has long been concerned with more momentous matters than simply winning elections. Famously, Rove has sought to engineer a seismic realignment in American politics. To that end, he’s perfected two signature strategies. He’s mastered a “base-in” approach, designing policy positions first for the party’s core conservatives, then marketing them to moderates (in contrast to the “center-out” model preferred by Bill Clinton). At the same time, Rove has made ingenious appeals to new constituencies that he believed were already Republicans, but just didn’t know it. Because these tactics defy all kinds of conventional wisdom and have delivered Bush a string of victories, they’ve won Rove a reputation for political genius. Stories about him invariably make dazzled references to his latest scheme to bring some unlikely group into the GOP fold: black conservatives, Arabs in Michigan, outlier Jews.

But for Republicans eyeing a long-term majority, the Hispanic vote is considered the real prize, particularly immigrant Hispanics. While two thirds of registered U.S.-born Hispanics reliably vote Democratic, foreign-born Hispanics remain up for grabs. This group now comprises nearly half the Latino electorate, which has tripled between 1980 and 2004 to 10 million voters; that figure is expected to double by 2020. For Republicans, this growth is especially important, because their core constituency—white voters—is in demographic decline. But what makes Hispanic voters so coveted by both parties is also their location on a stratified electoral map. As the last two presidential contests have demonstrated, the Democrats have a lock on the Northeast and California, while Republicans hold the South; the two parties split the Midwest. The real battleground is the West and Southwest, traditionally GOP regions that have been drifting leftward, partly because of their growing concentrations of Hispanic residents. If one party wins their loyalty, the theory goes, it holds the key to a generation of political dominance."

NDN in the News

NDN's Hispanic Strategy Center Director Joe Garcia is in Hispanic Business today discussing Florida's gubenatorial candidates possibly picking a Hispanic for lieutenant governor.

"For the first time we will see that candidates who win the primaries will have to seriously consider a Hispanic for lieutenant governor," EFE was told by Joe Garcia, former executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation and senior adviser in Florida for the New Democrat Network, which in 2002 launched an initiative to consolidate Latinos' connection with the party....Garcia said that the campaigns of both parties are working hard to win the Hispanic vote and even have directors of Latino affairs to make sure they do...."The number of Hispanic voters in Florida is almost 15 percent and it is the most changeable vote of any group in the state," he said.


Piolín among most powerful people in Southern California

In the Los Angeles Times' West Magazine, Eddie "Piolín" (or Tweety Bird) Sotelo ranks as one of the 100 (the 3rd youngest by my count) most powerful people in Southern California. His radio show, "Piolín por la Mañana", has an audience that "beats Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh and Tom Joyner every weekday morning, according to Arbitron ratings" (Washington Post, April 30th, 2006). Once more, the power and potential of Spanish-language media is recognized. NDN, of course, has understood this since 2004 and continues to speak to Hispanics via our "Mas Que un Partido" media campaign.

Simon and Joe met with him in California. (Shameless plug: Piolín is holding his "Democratas Unidos" jersey, which you can order from us here)

West magazine writes:

Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo
Spanish-language deejay; 35, Los Angeles

When Congress threatened to crack down on undocumented immigrants, Sotelo—L.A.'s top-ranked morning deejay—gave organizers of a proposed pro-immigrant rally four hours on his program on KSCA-FM (101.9). Sotelo then worked with KBUE-FM (105.5) host Ricardo "El Mandril" Sánchez and others to pump up the volume. Urging protesters to carry American flags and to be peaceful, the deejays summoned half a million or more to L.A.'s streets.

Spanish Dominant

No one seems to have put this up on here yet, so i'll do it. No wonder Arnold is communicating in Spanish. A recent addendum to Census data shows that 42% of Californians don't speak English at home, with the vast majority speaking Spanish. Another take on the data, this time in Ad Age, looks at the English language skills of hispanics. Bottom line: younger hispanics are good to go, but ' fewer than half (47%) of those ages 18-64 speak English "very well," and 19% speak English "well." Among those 65 and older, just 36% speak English "very well" and 19% "well." ' 

Arnold launches his Spanish-language campaign

Adding to Tim's post about Arnold's innovative use of SMS, today the Gov showed the use of another new tool - Spanish language media.  While it is not a particularly noteworthy piece of media, he is showing up in Spanish.  From our vantage point this seems like a pretty smart thing to do, as as much as 1/4 of the California electorate is Hispanic, and perhaps as much as half of that - as much as 12 % of the electorate - prefers Spanish. 

Taking the "Get these people out of town" Argument to Court

Fed up with federal inaction over immigration, many local towns have started to take their own measures, usually in very unorthodox ways. As the LA Times reports, one town passed an ordinance which "suspends the license of any business that "employs, retains, aids or abets" illegal immigrants; imposes a fine of $1000 per day on any landlord renting property to an illegal immigrant; and declares that all official city business be written in English only."

Some astute lawyers, however, have noticed that this isn't exactly Constitutional (after all, an issue like immigration is under the distinct jurisdiction of the federal government, not local). But we all know how House Republicans wanted to solve the matter, the enforcement-only policy that NDN picked up early. And, as David Broder comments, we all know that the Republicans inability to effectively deal with this issue is leaving a sour taste in the mouths of Latino voters.

Lots of Immigrants. Get Used to It.

New Census Bureau stats on immigrants are  much covered in this morning's news, and take top billing on the front page of the Times. Numbers are up in the usual places. But politically the most intriguing data seems to show that immigrant levels are rising in less expected corners of the country:

Indiana saw a 34 percent increase in the number of immigrants; South Dakota saw a 44 percent rise; Delaware 32 percent; Missouri 31 percent; Colorado 28 percent; and New Hampshire 26 percent. “It’s the continuation of a pattern that we first began to see 10 or 15 years ago,” said Jeff Passel, senior research associate at the Pew Hispanic Center, who has examined the new census data. “But instead of being confined to areas like the Southeast, it’s beginning to spill over into some Midwestern states, like Indiana and Ohio. It’s even moving up into New England.”

The Bureau lets you play around with the data in various ways here. You never know. If immigration continues rising in New Hampshire at this sort of rate, perhaps the nation's first primary competition will not always be dominated by white, rural libertarians after all. 


NDN in the News

Joe Garcia, Director of NDN's Hispanic Strategy Center, was in the Miami Herald on Sunday discussing what a post-Fidel Castro Cuba could mean for GOP politics.

''Republicans have had a lot of bark and no bite, but the bark has been enough,'' said Joe Garcia, a former executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation and director of the New Democrat Network's Hispanic Strategy Center. ``Once Castro is gone, you can bark all you want, but Castro's not there. You've got to develop a more realistic agenda that's in tune with the Cuban-American reality.''


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