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Pew Hispanic report reveals divide among Latino voters

LatinaLista — Latinos are mad at Democrats and tired of failed promises and have decided that the best revenge is not turning out at the polls in November.

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That’s according to a new report released today by the Pew Hispanic Center entitled Latinos and the 2010 Elections.

The Pew Hispanic Center’s findings break down Latinos’ disillusionment as such:

half (51%) of Latino registered voters say they are absolutely certain they will vote in this year’s midterm election, while seven-in-ten (70%) of all registered voters say the same

Yet, the report underscores just how complex Latinos are when it comes to politics.

On the one hand, a greater share of Latino voters, versus overall voters, approve of Obama’s job performance and slightly more than half say his policies haven’t had any effect on Latinos — but a little less than half still aren’t going to go the polls?

It doesn’t make sense.

Not until the complete breakdown of who among Latinos is more disillusioned is revealed, and then it’s not surprising they feel the way they do.

The report found:

Some groups of Latino registered voters are more motivated than others to vote this year. More than six-in-ten (62%) of those who are ages 50 to 64 are absolutely certain they will vote, as are 61% of those who have at least some college education, 58% of those who are English dominant and 58% of Latino registered voters ages 65 or older.

Fewer than four-in-ten (38%) of Latino registered voters who are Spanish dominant say they are absolutely certain to vote this year. This is lower than any other demographic group of Latino registered voters.

Two-thirds (66%) of Latino registered voters say they talked about the immigration policy debate in the past year with someone they know.

Immigration does not rank as a top voting issue for Hispanics. Rather, they rank education, jobs and health care as their top three issues of concern for this year’s congressional campaign. Immigration ranks as the fifth most important issue for Latino registered voters and as the fourth most important issue for all Latinos.

The distinction between registered English-dominant Latino voters and Spanish-dominant Latino voters illustrates that the national Latino community is not of one mind or opinion.

It makes sense that Spanish-dominant voters would be more disillusioned with the Obama administration because they are probably more closely connected to the ongoing immigration debate.

Yet to exercise their disapproval by not going to the polls is foolhardy and plays into the hands of critics of immigration reform who want to limit Latino involvement in all aspects of civic participation.

Without the Latino vote, more and more extremists will be voted into office and use their positions to advance the kind of callous, insensitive and targeted legislation against Latinos that are already spreading across the country.

Without the Latino vote, there is no opportunity to help elect the next generation of Latino politicians who can more accurately, in most cases, represent the Latino voice in Congress and in state and municipal offices.

Without the Latino vote, Latino voters don’t have any right to criticize the way things are going in government because those who don’t vote are part of the problem.

Frustration, disillusionment and disappointment are valid reasons to be upset with today’s political representatives but these emotions indicate that change can much more easily occur than living with intimidation, disgust and persecution that offer no hope for change and only more of the same.

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