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Immigration Insider | Election 2010 Recap: The Latino Firewall

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Immigration Insider | Election 2010

Last week, the Latino vote saved the Senate for the Democrats—surprising pundits, pollsters and right-wing fearmongers alike. Under a GOP House of Representatives, immigration enforcement will be the priority, not immigration solutions. Will Sen. Harry Reid keeps his pre-election promise to move the DREAM Act during the lame-duck?  After the way Latinos voted in Nevada, we think he will. 

Welcome to Immigration Insider | 1 Week After Election 2010

“Latino firewall” saves the West (and the Senate) for the Democrats. There’s a reason that pundits and journalists, some of whom hadn’t said a peep about Latino voters since they wrote about “low enthusiasm” back in September, have taken hold of this narrative—the evidence is just too overwhelming to ignore. To recap: In Nevada, Sharron Angle’s gamble that she could indulge in cheap immigrant-bashing because Latinos wouldn’t turn out at the polls backfired, as strong Latino turnout for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pushed him to victory. In Colorado, Latinos cast decisive votes in Senator Michael Bennet’s similarly unexpected victory over Ken Buck. In California and Washington, thanks to a strong GOTV effort, the Latino and immigrant vote kept Senators Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray (both strong supporters of immigration reform and the DREAM Act) in office. And Latinos helped sink the gubernatorial campaigns of Meg Whitman in California and Tom Tancredo in Colorado. The upshot? A Senate that’s still in Democratic hands and a difficult electoral map for the Republican nominee in 2010. 

More about the difference Latinos made in key races: http://bit.ly/by07sg

Why the polls got it wrong. After Tuesday, a lot of observers found themselves asking why did the pre-election polls in the Nevada and Colorado Senate races get it so wrong—and underestimated Democrats’ margins of victory in other states. As Matt Barreto of Latino Decisions pointed out to Nate Silver, most polls, by under-representing Latinos who prefer to speak Spanish, systematically underestimated how enthusiastic Latinos were about this election—and how likely they were to vote for Democrats. Furthermore, the same problems that made these pre-election polls so unreliable are common in national exit polls, which “badly missed” the Latino vote last Tuesday. It may take a while before we know precisely how big a role Latinos played in last week’s election.