Today’s Big Question: Will Latinos Be the Big Story Tomorrow?

If you have been following this column (or my blog for Forbes), you probably know several things about me. First, I am a big believer in the power of the Latino voter. Second, I have worried – publicly – that Latinos are not yet prepared to exercise that power (historically, registered Latino voters have voted in smaller numbers than other groups). Third, I am a proponent of using social to multiply the influence one has in the marketplace, including elections. Latinos are leaders in online and offline social engagement, and social may be the thing that gets Latinos to the polls this Election Day.

With the polls coming to a close later today, I thought it would be useful to share what other students of the Latino vote have to say. Here’s a selection from articles that hit just yesterday. Is there a consensus? Not quite, though most reporters and bloggers see a huge potential upside for President Obama if Latinos come out in big numbers (and if early voting for Latinos proves to be strong). A final tracking poll released yesterday by ImpreMedia and Latinos Decisions – the impetus for most of yesterday’s coverage – shows that 73 percent of likely Latino voters are with Obama. But regardless of the result, the outcome of the Latino vote is poised to become one of the bigger stories on Wednesday when the huge world of political pundits tries to explain what happened today.

LA Times: “Poll watch: Latino vote remains high for Obama”

“President Obama remains on track to receive over 70% of Latino votes, and perhaps win a record-high share, according to the final weekly tracking poll by the Latino Decisions polling firm.”

ABC News: “Analysis: If Obama Wins, Thank Latino Voters”

“If the minority vote were to exceed expectations and reach 28 percent, Romney would need a 25-point margin among whites to prevail in the popular vote. He has been nowhere close to that level in polling during this campaign. Latinos therefore could be the linchpin of an Obama popular vote victory on Tuesday. However, we know that presidential elections aren’t won by the popular vote but rather by the electoral vote in the states. Here too Latinos seem poised to make a decisive contribution.”

The Hill: “Pollster: Romney’s weak Hispanic numbers could cost him election”

“‘With 11 weeks of tracking, we are headed towards a record level of Latino votes for a Democratic presidential candidate,’ said University of Washington Professor Matt Barreto, who runs the poll, in a statement. ‘If Latinos turnout at the high rates we are expecting, they could deliver Nevada, Colorado, Florida and Virginia to Obama.'”

McClatchy Newspapers: “Latinos make final push to get voters to polls”

“Enthusiasm among Latinos does appear to be rising, according to the impreMedia-Latino Decisions. Forty-five percent of Latino voters say they are more enthusiastic about voting in 2012 compared with 2008. That’s an increase from 37 percent this summer when polling began.”

CBS/Dallas: “Hispanic Vote Could Sway Races”

“‘The Latino vote will make the big difference for Obama in Nevada, Pennsylvania, and all across the board,’ predicted [Luis Vera of the League of United Latin American Citizens]. So why is the Hispanics voter-turnout traditionally so poor? Vera attributes it to timing. ‘What we need to get out of the habit is voting on election day. For some reason, we still have that mentality that election day is tomorrow.'”

Latinos Post: “Swing States 2012: Record Latino Turnout on Election Day Could Swing Florida, Nevada, Virginia and Colorado for President Obama”

“With such a projected lead among Hispanics who are voting or have voted, Latino Decisions projects that their final poll findings could be significant to the presidential race, especially when it comes to tipping critical swing states with high Latino populations such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Virginia after the ballots are cast.”

Newsmax: “Cuban-Americans Give Romney Lead in Florida”

“…perhaps the most encouraging statistic for Romney is that 57 percent of likely Cuban-American voters in Florida support him, compared to only 37 percent for Obama, according to a Florida International University/Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald poll. Obama made some inroads among the Cuban-American voters in 2008, but that’s slipping now, people who track the Hispanic vote and Florida politics tell The Journal.”

Latinos Vote image on home page via Shutterstock.

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