Hispanic Business’s New Political Clout

Both political parties are courting the Hispanic vote in the 2012 election


political clout

The Hispanic population in the United States has become the fastest-growing demographic group, and Hispanic businesses increase Latino affluence by targeting the needs of this powerful minority. Both political parties recognize this trend and have targeted Hispanic voters in the 2012 elections.

And they do with good reason. President Barack Obama received overwhelming support from Hispanics in 2008. Republican candidate Mitt Romney hopes to gain more Latino votes than Sen. John McCain did four years ago. In fact, Romney’s strong Latino support during the primaries helped him win the Republican nomination. While most Hispanic voters register as Democrats, many have embraced Republican positions that favor small business.

Both parties have budgeted for extensive media campaigns to target Hispanic citizens. Obama outspent Romney during the summer, but Romney could be planning a late media blitz.

The 2012 political conventions also gave prime media attention to Hispanic speakers. The Republican National Convention featured Latino speakers including Sen. Marco Rubio and Romney’s Hispanic advisors Hector Barreto and José Fuentes. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, a rising star for the Democrats, gave the first keynote speech ever by a Hispanic in a national political convention.





Hispanic Vote Could Make the Difference

The Hispanic vote could make the electoral difference in key battleground states such as Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia and North Carolina. Hispanic voters seldom vote on single issues such as immigration but have well-rounded interests in the economy, education, healthcare and disaster relief.

Florida’s former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican, also endorsed Obama, which could influence the large number of Hispanic voters in the Sunshine State. Americans could easily see a repeat of the 2000 election when a tiny number of Florida votes determined the presidential election results.





The Issues

The sluggish economic recovery resulted in slow gains in employment. Hispanic citizens have gained more ground than other demographic groups, possibly due to the efforts of Hispanic business owners. In real terms, the employment increase has only matched the population growth among Hispanic Americans. Hispanic business owners worry about the future and many want stronger and faster growth, according to Hector Barreto, former head of the Small Business Administration. Romney named Barreto co-chair of his effort to court Hispanic voters.

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