A record 12.2 million Latinos are expected to vote in today's U.S. election. If expectations hold up, this election will further solidify the importance of the Latino vote and its status as not only the county's fastest-growing population but also its growing political influence. The neck-and-neck race between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will likely be decided by swing states with large Latino populations such as Colorado, Nevada and Florida.
Buoyed by his executive order of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in June, President Obama leads Governor Romney 73 percent to 24 percent among Latino voters, according to the latest Latino Decisions tracking poll, with 3 percent of this population still undecided. If President Obama meets this projection, he will become president with the highest level of support from the Latino electorate, breaking President Bill Clinton's record of 72 percent support in the 1996 election.
Governor Romney's stances on issues critical to the Latino population, including immigration policy, have been met with less enthusiasm among many Latino voters. As a result, he is projected to fall short of his campaign goal of 38 percent support from this population.
Beyond the presidential election, Latino voters are also being aggressively courted in hotly contested Senate races such as Nevada and Virginia—both listed as toss-ups by Real Clear Politics.
San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro was chosen yesterday to deliver the keynote address at the forty-sixth Democratic National Convention (DNC), to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, from September 4-6. Castro, 37, is the youngest mayor of a major U.S. city and will be the first Latino to give keynote remarks at the DNC. Other notable speakers include First Lady Michelle Obama, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren and former President Bill Clinton.
In a video message posted yesterday on DemConvention.com, Castro says that he was inspired by Barack Obama’s 2004 DNC keynote address that catapulted the then-senator into the national spotlight, and ultimately, the presidency. He praises Obama for championing the Affordable Health Care Act and keeping his commitment to creating opportunities for the middle class. Castro published a profile of another one of his heroes, Cesar Chavez, in the Spring 2012 issue of Americas Quarterly on Social Inclusion.
Castro is one of the Democratic Party’s rising stars and the New York Times has called him “the favorite to fill the [national Hispanic] leadership void.” Past DNC organizers see his keynote address as a strategic opportunity to rally Latino support, which has grown tremendously in Charlotte and across the South over the past decade.
Obama maintains a lead over Mitt Romney among Latinos in five swing states, according to polling data published Monday. Last year, Castro spoke with AS/COA in an exclusive interview about the growth of the Latino population in the U.S., how San Antonio leads the way for immigrant integration and the prospects for comprehensive immigration reform.
June 1: This AQ-Efecto Naím segment looks at sustainable cities in the hemisphere.