By Mariela Rosario
Clinton has secured the democratic primaries in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island, while Barack Obama has won Vermont. Latinos supported Hillary Clinton in Texas by a 36 point margin (67 percent to 31 percent); but results are still being tallied for the Texas Caucus which will determine the actual amount of pledged delegates each candidate will receive.
We all know that Latino's constitute the nations largest and fastest growing minority group, as of right now we make up about 15.5% of the population and 9% of the eligible voters in the U.S. according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Now the question is, how can we manage to make all this people power count? The impact that we have had on the Democratic Primary elections has proven incredibly important. States with large Latino populations have proven to be a key factor in the democratic primary race thus far, and we will surely continue to exert a huge influence as we look forward to the general presidential election.
Latinos represent a significant portion of the vote in Texas, with approximately 4 million of us accounting for about 25% of that states electorate. What remains to be seen is whether or not the general sentiment that Hillary Clinton has a stronghold on the Latino vote will be proven true. The standard cry by mainstream media that Obama does not have a chance in Texas because Latino's are reluctant to vote for an African American is flatly rejected by Miguel Orozco, of the Amigos de Obama campaign, "Hillary Clinton is a household name because her husband previously served as President. The feedback I have received has been focused on who Senator Obama is and what he has done and is willing to do for Latinos, not at all on racial divisiveness."
Clinton had maintained a healthy lead of 63% to Obama’s 30% of the democratic primary vote in Texas, but in the last week alone has seen that lead diminished by 30 points, leading to a virtual dead heat among the contenders. What may work in Obama’s favor is the fact that the Latino vote has skewed much younger than the general electorate. About 20% of the Latino voters on Super Tuesday were between the ages of 17 and 29. The Pew Hispanic center states, "The general youth of the Hispanic vote is largely a reflection of the relative youth of the Hispanic population overall." Latino women on the other had have heavily favored Clinton thus far compared to a relatively even split between the candidates among Latino men.
Overall, we can be hopeful that Latino’s will vote for the candidate that accurately reflects their views regarding the issues that matter the most to us such as the economy, education and immigration. What is most important is that you go out and VOTE! For more information on where the candidates stand click on the related links below and be sure to stay tuned to Latina.Com as we follow the results of the March 4th Primary.