July 8th, 2008
07:20 AM ET
12 years ago

Obama, McCain battle for Latino voters

Both candidates are courting Latino voters.

Both candidates are courting Latino voters.

WASHINGTON DC (CNN) - The fight for Hispanic voters takes center stage Tuesday as Senators John McCain and Barack Obama both speak separately in Washington to the League of United Latin American Citizens. It’s the second of three major Hispanic and Latino organizations the two presidential candidates are addressing this summer, and another sign of how important this key voting bloc is in the race for the White House.

President Bush won 44 percent of Hispanic and Latino voters four years ago, helping him win re-election. But only 30 percent of that demographic cast ballots for Republicans in the 2006 congressional elections. Put part of the blame for that drop on the divisive debate over immigration reform. McCain himself said earlier this year that “I think the tenor of the debate has harmed our image among Hispanics.”

The presumptive Republican nominee was one of the leaders in the Senate for immigration reform. His stance on that divisive issue hurt him with conservative voters. Nowadays he emphasizes border security first — but has continued to make a play for Hispanic voters, privately pledging to work for comprehensive immigration reform and releasing a string of Spanish-language radio ads in recent weeks.

“Many Hispanics feel that the debate on immigration has been a debate against Hispanics in general, and its made a lot of people register to vote, it’s made a lot of people become citizens so they can vote,” says CNN Spanish Correspondent Juan Carlos Lopez.

But immigration is not necessarily decisive issue for these voters. “They’re just like any other voters in America. They care about education, they care about the economy, about health care,” adds Lopez.

Polls indicate those issues favor the Democrats - but Obama is no shoo-in with Hispanics and Latinos.
Hillary Clinton beat Obama among that group in the Democratic primaries, according to exit polls.
“The first impression was they didn’t know who he was, and now they’re getting to know who he is,” says Lopez.

He seems to be making some progress in introducing himself: a Franklin and Marshall nationwide poll taken in early June among Spanish-speaking voters put Obama ahead of McCain by 8 points, and a Gallup poll conducted two weeks ago gave him a much larger lead.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Judgement over experience

    It amazes me how gullible latinos are but the only thing they are good for to the republicans is cheap labor. Otherwise they could care less about you.

    July 8, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  2. Candy West Virginia

    The republicans only care about latinos because of the cheap labor they provide for their companies, etc. That is all, no more, no less. Otherwise they would want you out.

    July 8, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  3. Griff

    No Bias there...

    July 8, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  4. Anthony, Dallas, Tx

    Come on my latino brothers and sisters, wake up and relize that Barack will work with you. He has worked for the less fortunate all his life and I don't see that changing.

    July 8, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  5. Latino

    I am Latino (born in Mexico) and I am supporting Obama (yes, I am a USA citizen). Republicans don't care about latinos and Obama is my choice for president. I never cared about Hillary and I don't understand why so many latinos care about her.

    By the way, "Mr. Judgement over experience", you think we are gullible? You sir are an idiot. I come from a hard working family where I am the only one that speaks english and yet I am starting my MBA in September at Penn State.

    July 8, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  6. not even close

    I do not believe this for one moment. From what i understand Hispanics are solidly for obama and the democrats. Gallup is showing margins of 20% or more for every region, age, income and martial status of Hispanics for obama. This election is going to be a democratic victory but the news networks are going to keep this up in order to make us think things are in a dead heat.

    July 8, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  7. Julie mn

    latinos, like everyone else who are not like obama, are a speck of dirt to him, all he wants are their votes, this American indian will give mine to the true American, John McCain...

    July 8, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. Johnny in NYC

    Legal Immigrant latinos should vote for for the son of an immigrant who understands what that experience is like. Obama has experience with immigration. McCain can barely say 'Buenos Dias' and he is from Arizona. The only time politicians say let's share America you are welcome here is when they need your spanish vote. Otherwise it's keep 'em out, enforce the border(Not Canada just Mexico), and we need more militia and minutemen along with a higher fence!

    July 8, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Latinos need to recognize Republicans fight to keep them working for underskilled low paying jobs but will not support their legal issues. Latinos need to look at what has happened to them under the Bush administration. John McCain is the Senator of Arizona and ICE along with the Maricopa County Sherrif have herded up Latinos, put the jail and then bused them back to Mexico. Latinos need to get the attention of the Republicans by voting NO which will give them more clout to fight their legal issues. I am a democrat and support my Latino brothers and sisters, however, I can't support them if they can't recognize whose hurting them.

    July 8, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. R.I.F.

    In the latest Newsweek poll Obama let McCain 62% to 28%. That's not close and other polls have come out that suggest similar numbers.

    CNN, I know you put a lot of time and effort in your exit polls during the primary but THIS IS NOT THE PRIMARY. Because Obama lost the Hispanic vote in the primary has no bearing on the general election. It's like ice cream. A lot of people may like vanilla and chocolate but more may choose vanilla when forced to pick one, but that doesn't mean they don't like chocolate. Now if you put the chocolate up against bussel sprouts, which one do you think will win?

    July 8, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. Texas Trail Dog

    JUDGEMENT OVER EXPERIENCE – It amazes me how gullible Latinos are but the only thing they are good foe the the republicans is cheap labor. Otherwise they could care less about.

    LATINOS – REFERENCE IT AMAZES ME HOW GULLIBLE LATINOS ARE. Does this not sound like the thinking of the African Americans. They bashed the one candidate Hillary Clinton who would have put you first in her thoughts. Now they are bashing the second most considerate candidate to your needs, in JOHN McCAIN. Don't be fooled as a lot of whites and browns are ignorantr enough to vote for this empty body suit man. HE IS LIKE A CATFISH. ALL MOUTH AND NO BODY. He speaks like his supporters with a forked tongue. HE TELLS YOU WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR WITH NO TRACK RECORD TO BACK IT UP. Beware of the men in fancy suits who have glib tongues but have never stood for anything. does not have a plan for anything, and WHO WILL SAY ANYTHING, DO ANYTHING TO GET ELECTED.

    July 8, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  12. H-ROD

    Obama has not changed his position on Iraq ,I know all the right wing press does is lie and spin the truth but they are good at it, you have to be carefull they allmost had me with that lie but I heard his whole speech and nothing has changed 16 still is the goal to pul the troops out but he has to do it carefully (yes Obama can)!!!!

    July 8, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  13. john

    as a registered Democrat, born and raised in USA. i will wholeheartly vote for Mccain, as will by big family.

    July 8, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. Ken

    If Barack Hussein Obama wants the Latino vote, then he would be better off having Hillary Clinton on the ticket! Hillary can bring a sure victory in November. Without her, Obama doesn't have a chance of beating McCain in November.

    Obama/Hillary Clinton 2008

    July 8, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. H-ROD

    I was watching Good morning America this morning and they had some OILman on his name was Pickens somebody he is a BIllionair,anyway He starts lieing about how you can't bring down oil price's and 6or 7 dollar a gallon by next year all lies . You can bring down oil prices overnight close the ENRON LOOPHLES and oil prices will drop by 60% the next day and that no lie do some RESEACH don't belive me check it out for your self (FIND OUT ABOUT THE ENRON LOOPHOLES IN US OIL POLICY) (YES OBAMA CAN)!!!!!

    July 8, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. Hillary Backer for McCain

    Sorry BO Jose and Pepe are on our team and will be moving over to vote for Senor Mack!

    July 8, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. ANGIE

    latinos republicans dont care about you they want to break up your families

    July 8, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  18. DJ Los Angeles

    No win situation for both candidates. Try to appear too sympathetic to illegal immigrants and they blasted for not defending the borders. Appear too tough on immigrants, they lose Hispanic votes. Both are trying to have it both ways on immigration. I trust Obama more than McCain though since he has been consistant unlike McCain who flip-flopped after the Neo-Con's freaked-out when he drafted the reform bill.

    July 8, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  19. Obama / Clinton 2008

    You have to give Latinos more credit. They are smart enough to know that the Republican party is just that...a PARTY for the rich.

    McFlip worked with Ted Kennedy to give illegal aliens amnesty. McFlop worked to seal the border and send illegal aliens home.

    John McCain is senile.

    July 8, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. gary

    LATINO, YOUR TO YOUNG TO REALIZE. THE CLINTONS DID ALOT FOR YOUR RACE WHERE OTHERS DIDN'T. THATS THE APPRECIATION HRC GETS FOR BEING THERE WITH BILL FOR YOU ALL. SHE GETS SWIFTBOATED FROM THE DNC AND PAY OFFS TO SUPER DELIGATES FROM O.B. O.B. WILL DO WHAT EVER HE NEEDSTO DO DO GET ELETED. YOU YOUNG BRAINWASHED FIRST TIME VOTERS ,GOT ALOT TO LEARN. AMERICA GETS JUST WHAT THEY DESERVE.

    July 8, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. Annoyed Latina

    Can everyone PLEASE stop lumping all Latinos into one category? Not all Latinos are immigrants, not all are Mexican, not all work as cheap laborers, and not all are in the Southwest and West! The Northeast is filled with Latinos, most of whom are Puerto Rican and thus are U.S. citizens by birth – they don't care about immigration. How about we focus on the fact that Latinos are just Americans who care about the same issues as everyone else?

    July 8, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  22. gary

    O.B. HAS NO INTENTIONS TO HAVE HRC ON THE TICKET. HE IS STUCK ON HIMSELF AND AMERICA WILL BE KICKING THEM SELVES IF HE GETS ELECTED.O.B. IS AN ARROGANT,HYPOCRITICAL, FLIPFLOPPER CON MAN.AMERICA GETS WHAT THEY ASK FOR.

    July 8, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. COL.{retd]A.M.Khajawall

    Dear American Voters, reporters, media. professionals, political parties, and our hon. Presidential Nominees,

    Subject: Presidential Temperament

    Please talk about and "Compare And Contrast" the " Presidential Temperament" of our Presidential presumptive nominees. I will also request and plead to the nominees themselves [ Hon. Senator McCain and Obama ].
    Our nation has been applying this yard and stick tor the appointments and confirmation process of our Supreme Court Justices nominees.
    Our Greatgrand Nation Foundations are as under:
    Family, friends, fellows, faith, funds, fun, with fairness & freedom And without fear, favor, and failure.
    It will be disgrace and shameful if the nominees and media will not look into this critical and crucial aspect under current challenging times and circumstances within our country and all around the Globe.

    America wake up and the discuss the " Presidential Temperament" of our presumptive presidential nominee's [ Hon. Senator McCain and Obama].

    Yours sincerely,
    COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret].
    Disabled American Veteran
    Forensic psychiatrist, Las Vegas, Nevada

    July 8, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. Chicana

    Obama lost this 'latina' (I hate that term!) when he failed to mention color in his 'race' speech. His world is black and white. His words fall on deaf Chicano ears. We know who fights for us and it isn't Obama.

    He may be a child of an immigrant, but he will never understand what our grandparents faced during the days of the 'Bracero' cards. African Americans feel entitled because of slavery. Try having your land taken out from under you and then let's discuss entitlement.

    You will find, the US political system is more corrupt than those of Mexico and the Americas – they just hide it better. There is no change. Obama is the newest puppet.

    July 8, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  25. sherry for Obama

    SOUNDS TO ME LIKE THE LATINO VOTERS GOT SMARTER WHEN THEY DECIDED NOT TO VOTE REPUBLICAN

    GO OBAMA....,...,

    July 8, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
1 2