New Faces, New Voices: The Hispanic Electorate in America

New Faces, New Voices: The Hispanic Electorate in America

New Faces, New Voices: The Hispanic Electorate in America

New Faces, New Voices: The Hispanic Electorate in America

Synopsis

Making up 14.2 percent of the American population, Hispanics are now the largest minority group in the United States. Clearly, securing the Hispanic vote is more important to political parties than ever before. Yet, despite the current size of the Hispanic population, is there a clear Hispanic politics? Who are Hispanic voters? What are their political preferences and attitudes, and why? The first comprehensive study of Hispanic voters in the United States, New Faces, New Voices paints a complex portrait of this diverse and growing population.

Examining race, politics, and comparative political behavior, Marisa Abrajano and R. Michael Alvarez counter the preconceived notion of Hispanic voters as one homogenous group. The authors discuss the concept of Hispanic political identity, taking into account the ethnic, generational, and linguistic distinctions within the Hispanic population. They compare Hispanic registration, turnout, and participation to those of non-Hispanics, consider the socioeconomic factors contributing to Hispanics' levels of political knowledge, determine what segment of the Hispanic population votes in federal elections, and explore the prospects for political relationships among Hispanics and non-Hispanics. Finally, the authors look at Hispanic opinions on social and economic issues, factoring in whether these attitudes are affected by generational status and ethnicity.

A unique and nuanced perspective on the Hispanic electoral population, New Faces, New Voices is essential for understanding the political characteristics of the largest and fastest growing group of minority voters in the United States.

Excerpt

Dear friends, the wife of senator John Kennedy, candidate for the U.S. presidency, is talking to you. In these very dangerous times, when the world peace is threatened by communism, it is necessary to have in the White House a leader able to guide our destinies with a firm hand. My husband has always cared for the interests of all the por tions of our society who need the protection of a humani tarian government. For the future of our children and to reach a world where true peace shall exist, vote for the Democratic Party on the eighth of November. Long live Kennedy!

Jacqueline Kennedy, in a speech from John Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign

We share a dream, that with hard work our family will succeed. If we are sick, we will have health insurance, and that our children will receive a good education, whether we are rich or poor. This is the American dream. I ask for your vote, not just for me and the Democrats, so that we can also keep the dream alive for you and your children.

Barack Obama, in a speech from his 2008 general election campaign

WHILE MORE THAN forty-five years separate the broadcast of these two Spanish-language television advertisements, it is remarkable how both messages touch upon similar themes: the ideas of hope and the future, and the importance of having a candidate who understands the needs of the Spanish-speaking community. These advertisements provide a glimpse of how politicians have communicated with the Hispanic electorate, but they also raise a

Kennedy's speech is available at http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/ commercials/1960/mrs-jfk (translated by the authors). The second quotation is from Barack Obama's Spanish-language ad, “Un Mensaje de Barack Obama” (A Message from Barack Obama). The ad may be viewed at http://pcl.stanford .edu/campaigns/2008/index.html.

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