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‘Qué Pasa’ in Immigration: Energized by Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric, Latinos Win It for Dems in NV, CA

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The Spanish-language press reports today on the Democrats’ defeat in the House of Representatives, and retention of a reduced majority in the Senate. They also focus on the role of Latino voters in key races, such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s reelection in Nevada and Jerry Brown’s victory in the California gubernatorial race. While the anti-immigrant rhetoric used by many Republican candidates motivated millions of Latinos to vote for Democrats by historic margins, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives presents an obstacle to passing immigration reform.

Latinos key to Harry Reid’s and Jerry Brown’s victories. EFE writes that:

“exit polls reveal that Latinos represented 16% of the electorate in Nevada, surpassing even the presidential election in 2008, when the percentage was 15%. The strong presence of Hispanics at the polls could have been crucial to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s victory.”

La Opinión (Los Angeles) cites a Latino Decisions poll on the Hispanic vote commissioned by NCLR, SEIU and America’s Voice:

“One important reason for Brown’s triumph, according to the Latino Decisions poll, was the overwhelming Latino preference for the Democrat—to an extent never before seen in California: 86% for Brown and 13% for Whitman—which gave him an important advantage.”

The paper adds:

“This trend was repeated not only in California, but in other states where some candidates used the immigration issue–such as the Nevada Senate race and in Arizona, where the law SB 1070 became an issue in governor Jan Brewer’s reelection campaign.

 “’This is the most Democratic vote we’ve ever seen in the Latino community—I mean, the margins are incredible,’ said Matt Barreto, director of the polling firm Latino Decisions, noting that ‘exactly in the states where anti-immigrant rhetoric was strongest—such as Nevada, Arizona and, in the case of California, with the episode with Whitman and the maid—is where Latinos revolted against Republicans.