Hispanic Voters Play Big Role in Election as Women Make Big Gains

[ 0 ] November 7, 2012 |

Hispanic voters played a big role in putting Barack Obama in the White House for another four years and defeating not only Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan on Election Day 2012, but they also had a hand in defeating other political candidates this year, as well. Meanwhile, women candidates made great gains in the U.S. Senate Tuesday night, bringing their numbers to 19 in that chamber.

‘The Hispanic Community Came Out Big’

Republican losses are being partly to blame – not solely on Romney by any means – but on the party’s inability to attract non-white voters, and some of its stances on certain policy issues. In 2012 and 2012, voters who turned out on Election Day by race, were: white 72%, 74% in 2008; black 13% both in 2012 and 2008; Latino 10% in 2012 and 9% in 2008; and ‘other’ 5% both election years. Obama won 39% of white voters but 78% non-white voters in 2012; compared to 2008 when he got 43% of the white vote and 80% of the non-white vote.

Related: Obama Vows Bipartisanship, Romney Calls on GOP to Play Nice

“There’s no question that the Hispanic community came out big for President Obama,” Mayor Julian Castro, Democratic mayor of San Antonio, Texas whose twin brother Joaquin Castro on Tuesday won a U.S. House seat representing the 20th congressional district in Texas, said on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown” Wednesday.

“But Hispanics are like everybody else in the United States,” Julian Castro continued. “They care about the economy, health care, education, but of course what it means is that we’re hopeful that the president and the Congress will take up the DREAM Act and take up comprehensive immigration reform sooner rather than later.”

Republican strategist Mike Murphy also acknowledged in a television interview Wednesday that his party needs to change drastically to make gains in future elections. “The biggest deal is demographic,” Murphy said. ” It’s getting colder and colder and you see it in the realists last night. The country’s changing and the people are party appeals to is a static group and that is a recipe for extinction.” The GOP needs to have a real, “adult conversation” about “our need to attract more people than grumpy old white guys” and about policy problems like immigration reform and gay marriage -two issues that alienate Hispanic and young voters, in particular, Murphy said.

‘Last Gasp of 20th-Century Politics?’

MSNBC’s Chuck Todd on Tuesday night noted that the GOP is getting “clobbered” when it comes to non-white voters.

“The story of this election is demographics. The Republican Party has not kept up with the changing face of America. That explains what’s going on in Florida, that explains what’s going on in Colorado, that explains, frankly, what’s going on in Virginia and North Carolina. It’s the growth of the Hispanic communities in various places.”

“All of them are becoming core demographic voters,” Todd added. “The Republican Party has some serious soul-searching to do.”

“This election personifies the cultural transformation of America, which will become increasingly transparent in future elections,” said genConnect expert and media ecologist Jack Myers, author of Hooked Up: A New Generation’s Surprising Take on Sex, Politics and Saving the World. “This has been the last gasp of 20th-century politics and a clear message that a future defined by young, Hispanic, female, gay and black voters is here now.” 

Russell Muirhead, Associate Professor of Democracy and Politics at Dartmouth University, noted that “Hispanic” is a large term – it covers covers a large geography, and a wide variation of values, opinions, and interests.

“Unifying the Hispanic vote was one of the great achievements of the Republican Party in Election ’12 – great if you’re a Democrat,” Muirhead told genConnect Wednesday. “The Republicans managed it by virtue of their position on immigration and by their efforts (via voter ID laws) to suppress the vote. Each of these is a threat to Hispanics, and yesterday Hispanics responded.

“If the Republican Party leadership works with Democrats to craft a sensible immigration reform, they might manage to drain the immigration issue of its urgency. If at the same time, Republicans in state legislatures court Hispanic voters instead of making it more difficult for Hispanics to vote, they will discover that, like every group, Hispanics often disagree with each other. Some will vote Republican – vastly more, I suspect, that did so yesterday.”

Meanwhile, young voters also had higher turnout in 2012 than in 2008.

On Election Day 2012, 19% of voters who cast their ballots were under the age of 30, compared to 18% in 2008. Those voters ages 65 and over this year were 16% – the same percentage of turnout this voting group had in 2008.

WATCH: Internet Generation to Forever Change Corporate America

Myers predicted before the election that college-age voters, in particular, would have a big influence on this year’s election – an influence that would favor Obama and Democrats. He says that the increasing influence of this voting bloc could help strengthen the moderate center.

“The Hooked Up Gen will be more likely to vote for those who connect effectively on a one-to-one basis, who are honest and sincere in their opinions, are the least extreme, and who prove open and accepting of those with whom they don’t agree,” Myers said. “There will continue to be polarization on most social and foreign policy issues, but if today’s college students are a window to the future, the weight of the population will swing toward more progressive and moderate views.”

Exit polls also showed that when it came to women voters, Obama built an 11 percentage-point advantage to 55%- 1 percentage point less than four years ago.

Historic Gains for Women  

Women were also the big winners on Election Day 2012. The U.S. Senate broke a gender-related record; the 113th Congress will have more senators than ever in history – 19.

Related: PunditMom Joanne Bamberger – ‘I’m Putting My Faith in Women Voters’ 

Elizabeth Warren became the first U.S. senator for Massachusetts, beating Republican incumbent Scott Brown, while Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill benefitted from blowback suffered from Republican challenger Todd Akin, after his controversial comments about “legitimate rape.”

“You did what they thought was impossible,” Warren, a Harvard Professor, told a crowd during her victory speech Tuesday night. “You took on powerful Wall Street banks and you let them know you wanted a senator to fight for the Middle Class all of the time.”

Related: 10 Things to Know ABout Elizabeth Warren 

EMILY’s List congratulated all of the female candidates the organization supported.

“Elizabeth Warren is a progressive champion who has dedicated her career to fighting for middle class families,” said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List. “This election provided a clear choice between leaders like Warren who want to level the playing field for women and families by expanding economic opportunity, and Republican extremists who would roll back the clock by denying women access to reproductive healthcare and equal pay. …Leaders like Elizabeth Warren will help us end the Republican Party’s extreme, right-wing agenda by supporting policies that benefit women and families.”

Meanwhile, New Hampshire made history Tuesday when it elected the country’s first all-women delegation. Voters chose Democrat Maggie Hassan as their governor – Hassan will be the only female Democratic governor in 2013 – and new Democratic House Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster will join U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D, and Kelly Ayotte, R, in Congress.

“We have a long tradition in New Hampshire of electing women,” not only at the federal level, but at the state and local levels, as well, Hassan said Wednesday in a television interview. “Women have been participants in the political process here for a long time. …We think it’s just great to have everybody participating in the process.”

Related: Contraception and Health Care – What It Costs Us

Other women winners last night include:


U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat, beat former Bush administration official and Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson to become the first woman to represent her state in the U.S. Senate. Baldwin is also the first openly gay senator.

Republican Deb Fischer, a Nebraska state senator, beat former two-term Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey for an open seat.

Mari Hirono became the first Asian American woman to serve in the Senate, as well as the first woman to represent Hawaii in that chamber.

Incumbent female senators who won re-election are: Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif,; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.; Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; and Maria Cantwell, D-WA.


Rep.-elect Tammy Duckworth thanks voters Wednesday

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, Democrat, Illinois’ eighth district; she will be one of the first female combat veterans to serve in Congress. The former Assistant Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs lost both of her legs from injuries sustained while serving in combat in Iraq.

Tulsi Gabbard, Democrat, Hawaii’s second congressional district; she will be one of the first female combat veterans in office, as the first Hindu to serve in Congress

Suzan DelBene, Democrat, Washington’s first congressional district

Dina Tutus, Democrat, Nevada’s first congressional district

Elizabeth Etsy, Democrat, Connecticut’s fifth congressional district

Grace Meng, Democrat, New York’s 6th district; will be the first Asian American to represent New York in Congress

Michelle Lujan, Democrat, New Mexico’s first district

Cheri Bustos, Democrat; Illinois’ 17th district, first woman in Congress to represent that district

Joyce Beatty, Democrat, Ohio’s third district

Lois Frankel, Democrat; Florida’s 22nd district, first woman to represent this district in House

genConnect offers heartfelt congratulations to all the women who were elected to office on Election Day 2012, as well as to those who ran great campaigns but didn’t get elected. We encourage more women to get out there and run for office to make a difference!
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About Jack Myers: Jack Myers is a media ecologist and chairman of Media Advisory Corp, which publishes economic counsel, trend analyses, proprietary research and forecasts for media, advertising, marketing, entertainment and financial services companies. Jack also serves as [...]
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