How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Poll: Obama's popularity among Latinos spikes

Source: Latino Decisions

Was President Obama's announcement last Friday that he would grant temporary legal status to some undocumented youths a smart political move? Seems like it. A second poll since last week by the Latino Decisions polling firm shows that at least among Latinos in five battleground states, Obama maintains a strong lead over GOP rival Mitt Romney.

Overall in the key states of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia, a poll of 400 Latino respondents found Obama leading by 63 percent over Romney's 27 percent.

There are regional differences, of course. In Florida, where more Latino voters lean right, Obama led by a somewhat smaller margin, 53 percent to 37, although Obama's lead there is up slightly from January poll results. In Virginia, Obama lead by 59 percent over Romney's 28 percent.


Rubio as running mate: Help for Romney, or 'Hispandering?'

Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, left, with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania, April 23, 2012

Now that Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney has said that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is being vetted as a potential vice-presidential running mate pick, along with others, the debate over whether or not Rubio can help steer much-needed Latino voters toward Romney has resurfaced.

There's nothing set in stone, but Romney confirmed the vetting after ABC News reported that Rubio wasn't a contender, a story Romney denied. Rubio, who earlier this year said he wasn't interested, is keeping mum on the whole thing. Not that it's been an easy week for him, but that's another story.

Interestingly, on Monday, a Christian Science Monitor headline asked, "Did Obama's immigration move make Marco Rubio a more likely veep pick?" The move referred to, of course, is President Obama's announcement last Friday that he would not seek to deport some young undocumented immigrants, allowing them instead to apply for temporary legal status and work permits. Obama's plan more or less rendered moot a yet-to-be-filed proposal from Rubio that promised similar relief for undocumented youths attending college or joining the military. From the Monitor piece:


The so-called Latino voter 'sleeping giant': Still asleep?

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Top 10 states with the most untapped potential voters

We've heard the overused "sleeping giant" reference often to refer to the Latino electorate, that which is composed of far more eligible voters - and people eligible for citizenship who can't yet vote - than the number of Latinos who actually hit the polls. This giant has also supposedly awakened a few times in recent election years, as turnout has improved. But not really.

The Center for American Progress has put together an interactive map and graphic list that starkly illustrates just how few Latino U.S. citizens who could be voting aren't doing so, along with how many legal permanent residents there are who could become citizens and vote, but have not.

In California, for example, it's estimated that there are more than 2 million Latino U.S. citizens who aren't registered to vote, and more than 2.3 million legal permanent residents who are eligible for citizenship but have not taken that step. The same holds true for Texas: More than 2.1 million unregistered Latino citizens, and close to 900,000 LPRs eligible for citizenship.


Poll: Latinos prefer original DREAM Act, but are split on 'DREAM-light'

Source: Latino Decisions

The polling firm Latino Decisions has been tracking Latino voter attitudes in the run-up to the 2012 election for some time now, and the latest temperature check deals with what's referred to as "DREAM-light," a yet-to-be-introduced alternative to the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act that is being floated by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

The poll also checks the temperature on Latino voters' support for President Obama vs. GOP nominee-apparent Mitt Romney, although there's no surprise there: As several other recent polls have indicated, Latino voters continue to favor Obama, even in spite of Obama's recent statement in support of same-sex marriage and some Latinos' social conservatism.

But the Dream Act part is interesting, if not altogether surprising either. An overwhelming majority of the Latinos polled said they supported the most recent version of the original Dream Act, which proposes granting conditional legal status to undocumented college students and military hopefuls who arrived in the U.S. before age 16, with a path to citizenship. The forthcoming version being discussed by Rubio would also offer these young people temporary legal status, but without a clear path to citizenship, a aspect that's faced substantial criticism.


A science blogger on the 'socially conservative' Latino voter

It isn't every day that science bloggers write about Latino voters' attitudes, so a recent post on this topic from Discover Magazine's Razib Khan caught my eye.

In his Gene Expression blog, Khan posted the results of some queries that he ran on Latinos' attitudes on "a range of 'hot-button' social issues" post-2000 in the General Social Survey, or GSS, which measures social trends.

Khan concluded that while the results can be used to support the argument that Latinos are socially conservative, "they are not of the magnitude or direction of difference that one finds when comparing evangelical white Protestants to other whites, or even blacks to whites," and that this makes the Latinos-are-social-conservatives argument somewhat misleading.

The entire post can be read here.