October 31, 2008

MSNBC's Chuck Todd had on Amy Walter of Hotline to talk about the nation's racial demographics and the internal dynamic affecting the outcome of Election 2008, and Walter had this to say:

Todd: Amy, on Election Day and we look at these returns coming in on the South, and if it is no longer a solid Republican South, then isn't the story: Race benefited Barack Obama? Race is the reason why he won a state in the South, be it North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Louisiana -- it's popped into single digits, South Carolina has popped into single digits. Georgia. There's only one reason --

Walter: We always assumed that race was going to be a negative. That that was the issue coming into this. Well, you say, well, race is a negative as in the "Bradley effect," as in turning off white voters. But -- and I think you've pointed this out too -- I think there are two issues: One is, yes, in a place like -- let's not say Georgia or Mississippi, I still think those states are tough calls for Barack Obama, but certainly can be helpful to the Senate candidates -- but a place like North Carolina, certainly, are very important.

But it's Latino vote too. When all is said and done, and we've spent a lot of time talking about white working class voters, we've spent a lot of time talking about the African American vote, what we haven't spent a lot of time talking about is how dramatically Latino voters are breaking against John McCain and breaking for Barack Obama in the states that could decide this election: Colorado, Virginia (another one of those), Nevada, New Mexico.

This trend has been building for awhile now. I guess McCain's "I heart Latinos but just don't tell anyone" strategy hasn't worked out so well. As Politico's Jonathan Martin goes on to note:

Chuck, I think the McCain folks spent so much time focusing on the trends in the Democratic primary [when Latino voters trended heavily toward Hillary Clinton] and taking lessons from that contest, but it seems like that wasn't necessarily a smart thing to do. I think they picked their running mate based in large part on this primary, and talking about these demographic factors. It was based on the primary.

Chuck, the thought was, Jewish Americans, Latinos, blue collar [whites] wouldn't go for Obama based on the trends in the Democratic primary. A funny thing happened. McCain is cleaning up among Latinos.

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