Politeía Digest

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New Yorker: Will Hispanics Save Obama?

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In addition to prognosticating and spouting off on a daily basis, I’ve decided to post some in-depth interviews with campaign officials, politicians, policy wonks, and others with something worthwhile to say. The first one, which you can read in full below, is with Ruy Teixeira, a senior fellow at the Center for Economic Progress and at the Century Foundation.

An expert on demography and polling data, Teixeira co-authored a very influential 2002 book titled “The Emerging Democratic Majority,” which argued that the Republican era that started in the late nineteen-sixties was coming to an end.

Many of the things that Teixeira and his co-author John Judis identified ten years ago—the rising number of Hispanic voters, an emerging gender gap between the two parties, and a shift to the Democrats among urban professionals—played into Obama’s victory in 2008. Despite Republican gains in the 2010 midterms and Mitt Romney’s recent rise in the polls, Teixeira believes that Obama is still well placed on the basis of demography and geography. “All the trends we identified that helped lead to Obama’s 2008 victory have continued apace,” he told me.

The rapidly growing Hispanic vote is particularly important, Teixeira insists. In Nevada, for example, it is now approaching twenty per cent, and the overall minority-vote share is close to forty per cent. And Mitt Romney, after taking a hard line against illegal immigration during the primaries, has no credible way to reach Hispanics. “I think they’re stuck, and I think they know they are stuck,” Teixeira said.

With the gender gap also holding up, and with popular attitudes to things like gay marriage steadily becoming more liberal, Teixeira says that the election is shaping up as a contest between demography and economics. “All majorities are contingent,” he said. “Just because there’s a potentially dominant coalition emerging, one that has a secure vote and demographic foundation, doesn’t mean it’s going to win every election.” Romney’s strategy is to exploit popular unease about the economy. For Obama, “the question for him is whether he can leverage those demographic advantages and turn them into a victory in a situation that’s really quite difficult for the incumbent.” Read more in the New Yorker

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Written by Theophyle

June 24, 2012 at 10:24 am

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