Whites and blacks have been pretty stable in their feelings towards the Democrats this year. But can someone explain to me why Latino support for Democrats is plummeting during a year when Republicans have been falling all over themselves to back Arizona-style crackdown laws? I don't get it. Gallup's explanation, that Latinos are upset with the Democrats for not passing immigration reform, doesn't quite ring true to me. The passage of the Arizona initiative just has to be a higher salience change than the national government's failure to act.
Sylvia Manzano provides some data on how Latinos perceive the Democratic Party (i.e. as welcoming them or not)... and well, as I wrote this comment, I felt I had more to say than just a comment.
I take your point, Kim -- there isn't necessarily much reason for Latinos to feel really enthused about Dems right now. But nor is there reason for them to move towards Republicans. Why are Latinos actually moving towards Republicans while blacks and whites are staying roughly where they were a year ago?
The drop in Democratic support in the Galluup poll coincides quite closely with the effective date of the Arizona immigration law.
Could it be that the Arizona immigration law has made Latino voters collectively more wary of Gallup pollsters, or more likely to supply insincere answers?
A 19 point shift in actual opinion towards the Republicans in two months seems grossly implausible.
I'm almost encouraged by the question to look at the Gallup data, but I wonder if the denominator is changing or just the numerator (simply put, is it that Latinos are shifting from supporting Dems to supporting Reps, or is it that enough of them are saying no thanks to both?). From Klein, we should expect the latter...
To expand on that last point - it might be that if you're a Latino Republican, you're willing to accept the shenanigans. So when the Republicans do something that is not immigrant-friendly, you don't change your party. But if you're a Latino Democrat, you're not as accepting of Republican behavior. Furthermore, you might want your Democratic party to do more in response to the Republican "anti-immigrant" stance. But then you see your party just kinda sitting there, saying, "look how bad those guys are." In which case, you opt out of supporting the Democrats, making the number Klein presents smaller (because those Latino Republicans are sticking around).
Sentiment is not advocacy, and sympathetic sentiment is the only thing Dems have delivered Latinos for a long time now. Immigration policy in America became more strict and the discourse more racist with a Democratic president and majority in Congress -- not the observational equivalent of Republican control, but actually worse. Telling Latinos that Republicans are "more racist" is a crappy reason to expect turnout or loyalty. Try harder.
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