Tags: latino | vote | obama

Latinos Vow to Set Bar High for Obama, Congress

Friday, 21 Nov 2008 05:45 PM

By Mike Tighe

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An analysis of the record numbers of Latinos who voted Nov. 4 indicates not only stronger support for President-elect Barack Obama than initially thought but also that they intend to hold him and the Democratic Congress accountable for their campaign promises, a Latino official says.

Latino votes for Obama could have been higher than reflected in exit poll data, according to the analysis of the survey, released Friday. It found that 72 percent of Latino voters overall opted for Obama, while 25 percent chose Sen. John McCain, according to a release on PR Newswire announcing the results.

“The Democratic Party should heed the message of Latino voters in our survey,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the NALEO Educational Fund, one of the co-sponsors of the survey. “With their strong support of President-elect Obama and his party come high expectations."

ImpreMedia, which bills itself as the nation's leading Hispanic news and information company, commissioned the survey in conjunction with the Latino Decisions polling firm and NALEO, an organization that fosters Latino participation in the political process.

The high turnout among Latinos solidifies them as a voting bloc, said Vargas, adding, "The survey also finds that naturalized immigrant voters and first time voters played a significant role in shaping the Latino vote.”

Naturalized immigrants total nearly half of the total of Latino voters, the poll found, as 46 percent were born outside the United States or Puerto Rico. And one of every six was voting for the first time.

Just over two-thirds of the Latinos who voted Nov. 4 said restoring the economy is the most important issue for Obama and Congress to address, outpacing by far the importance of other issues, including the war in Iraq at 6 percent, immigration at 6 percent, and healthcare, at 4 percent.

Expectations also remain high for immigration reform, the poll found, with 41 percent saying it is very important and 27 percent, important, for the Obama administration to address it within its first year.

Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed expect the Latino community to see improvements under the Obama administration. Among immigrant voters, that expectation ran to 75 percent in the survey, which has an error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percent and is said to reflect Latinos nationwide.

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