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New Lifetime Poll Delivers Insight on Latinas’ Position as Change Agents in 2008 Democratic Presidential Election

LatinaLista — Today Lifetime TV released a new presidential election poll, in conjunction with Zogby National, as part of their Every Woman Counts campaign.
Among a host of other findings, the poll found that 93% of women in the nation plan to vote in November.

(Source: Jeff Clavier)
That’s not really surprising given that this is the first election with a female frontrunner candidate. In fact, Clinton’s candidacy is inspiring women everywhere to come out and vote — Latinas included.
So, it was surprising to read a wire story that questioned the likelihood of Latina voters turning out in 2008 when there’s a history of Latinas turning out in greater numbers not just registering to vote but performing the civic duty.

The story, Latina 2008 Turnout Push Faces Uphill Effort, published through Women’s Enews, basically reports that Latinas have sorry turnouts when it comes to voting.

In a 2004 fact sheet about unmarried women’s voting patterns, Women’s Voices, Women’s Vote, a Washington-based advocacy group, reported that 45 percent of Hispanic unmarried women voted in the 2004 election, the lowest percentage of any demographic group and followed by Hispanic married women, 54 percent of whom voted. Nearly as many Hispanic unmarried women, 44 percent, were not registered at all.

I can’t say those poll findings are unusual given that we don’t know how many Latinas polled were eligible to vote in the first place.
But it was this statement that had me do a doubletake:

Studies have also shown that Latinas register more heavily than their male counterparts, but vote less.

If the writer refers to national voting trends among Latinas, then the last part of the statement is false.
In a factsheet from the Center for Women and Politics titled “Gender Differences in Voter Turnout,” since 1984 Latina turnout in presidential elections has been consistently higher than Latinos. If that’s the case on a national level, then it wouldn’t make sense that this would not also be true on state and local levels as well.
As a disclaimer, I have to say that I have worked with Women’s Enews in the past as a freelance writer and have always found them to be very conscientous and thorough in factchecking and questioning sources and information. I have emailed them to find the source of the writer’s statement where she attributes “studies” in making this claim.
So what is the big deal about such a statement?
The concern is that such a statement plants in the minds of pollsters and presidential campaigners that Latinas don’t care about being heard in this presidential election, and that is as far from the truth as it gets.
The false perception created by such a statement undermines the strides Latinas have already made across the country in buildiing awareness for issues that highly impact the Latino community.
True, there are voter registration drives going on across the nation targeting Latinos but it’s the newly minted citizens who are the main targets of these drives. But yet again, Latinas have lead the way in the community in getting the Latino community’s political voice heard in mainstream elections.
There is a proud record of Latinas not just registering to vote and voting, but helping family members and neighbors to do the same. Also, running for school board elections, and city and state politics — Latinas have a proud history of being agents of change for their communities.
The Lifetime poll found that Latinas and other women of color are poised to be those same agents of change for the nation.
Though they admit their sampling was dismally small, the poll did uncover an interesting insight:

The poll also found an intriguing result among a small sample of minority women. Though further research is needed, minority women say they feel more compelled to support Hillary Clinton because she is a woman candidate than they are to vote for Barack Obama because he is a minority candidate.

Regardless of who wins, it’s clear that Latinas won’t be a no-show at this party.

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    December 20, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    “In fact, Clintons candidacy is inspiring women everywhere to come out and vote – Latinas included”
    This may be true to some degree, but from the studies I have seen, not all these women will be voting for HillBill. Many liberal feminists are very upset with HillBill and feel she has done nothing to quailfy herself as President, unless you consider sleeping with a President as a qualification. Also, most voters realize that a vote for HillBill will be a vote to put hubby back in the position and her as a puppet to his decisions. Not very many voters want to see Bill back in the drivers seat. Sure, he’s a real fun guy, but did more to harm this country than good. My gut feeling is she may get the nod from the Democratic Party, but her chances are slim to none for the White House, no matter how many women come out and vote – Latinas included.

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