By Joe Guzzardi
August 24, 2011
If you only causally follow Obama’s new non-deportation policy that exempts certain illegal aliens, you might get the impression that Hispanics throughout the United States are clamoring for amnesty.
To be sure, there’s a lot of noise. But look where it comes from—Beltway Hispanic lobbyists, radical Democrats, carefully chosen poster children and, of course, their great enabler, the mainstream media.
Illegal immigration advocates explain Obama’s “deferred action” strategy with the simple but incorrect analysis that the Hispanic vote is crucial to Obama’s re-election.
The reality may surprise you. According to research by the Washington D.C.-based Pew Hispanic Center in its report titled “The Latino Electorate in 2010: More Voters, More Non-Voters,” in the midterm election, Latinos represented only 6.9 percent of all voters. Because the nationwide Hispanic population is so high and growing so rapidly, the false assumption is that its voting base is increasing at a similar rate.
According to the Census Bureau, 50.5 million Hispanics were counted in 2010, up from 35.3 million in 2000. During the same decade, the number of Latino eligible voters—adults over 18 who are U.S. citizens—also increased from 13.2 million to 21.3 million.
But what Pew discovered is that although Latino participation in elections reached an all time high, Hispanic representation among the electorate remains below its representation in the general population. In 2010, the U.S. Latino population was 16.3 percent but only 10.1 percent of eligible voters and fewer than 7 percent of actual voters.
Two factors explain the gap between eligible and actual voters—youth and non-citizenship. More than one third of Latinos (34.9 percent) are younger than 18, the legal voting age. An additional 22.4 percent are of voting age but not U.S. citizens. As a result, the share of the Latino population eligible to vote is smaller than it is among any other group. Just 42.7 percent of the nation’s Latino population is eligible to vote while more than three-in-four (77.7 percent) of whites, two-thirds of blacks (67.2 percent) and more than half of Asians (52.8 percent) are eligible to vote.
Taken to its logical conclusion, Obama’s excessive pandering to the relatively few Hispanic voters, “smaller than any other group,” is utter madness. Obama’s amnesty by fiat is a high profile gamble, a front page story that has raised the hackles of Americans from all demographic and political sectors. When Congress returns from vacation , the Republican heat on Obama will intensify.
Obama’s back door amnesty may have given him a bump among Hispanic voters. But Hispanic voters who might turn out will still be too few to offset the bad publicity Obama’s immigration policy has generated.
Even African-Americans have fallen away from Obama. According to Gallup’s most recent poll, Obama’s approval rating among black Americans is 84 percent, higher than any other group but significantly down from the 90-plus percent approval he had during his first year in office.
Fifteen months remain until election 2012, plenty of time for Obama to right his ship. So far, he’s shown no indication that he wants to move to the middle where the votes really are. Obama is getting bad advice from White House radicals but is apparently not savvy enough to recognize it.