No One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Wooing Hispanics
In New Mexico, Tomasita Maestas says she will pick the presidential candidate who has the best plan to fix education and the economy.
In Arizona, Mexican immigrant Carlos Gomez backs Republican Mitt Romney because he’s more conservative on social issues than his Democratic opponent.
In Miami, Colombia native Luna Lopez probably will vote for President Barack Obama now that he’s decided to halt the deportation of many illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children.
The reasons that Hispanics give for choosing between Obama and Romney are just as diverse as the countries that they or their ancestors once called home, suggesting there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to courting the nation’s fastest-growing minority group.
The Latino vote isn’t monolithic or, really, a voting bloc. It includes a range of people with varying opinions. Among them are Republican-leaning Cubans in Florida, new Mexican immigrants and longtime descendants of Spanish settlers in the Southwest, and Democratic-tilting Puerto Ricans in the East.
Immigration policy would seem to be the natural top issue for these voters, except that nearly two-thirds of Hispanics are born in the U.S. Their priorities are the same as the general population — jobs, the economy, education and health care.
“We need to see more jobs here, that’s my No. 1 priority and what I want to hear about,” says Stefan Gonzalez, an almost 18-year-old from Denver, whose heritage includes Spanish, Mexican and Native American roots. Gonzalez, who works in a suburban Denver pawn shop, says he plans to vote for Obama this fall.