In Swing States, Obama Campaign Begins Push For Another Latino-Vote Landslide | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

In Swing States, Obama Campaign Begins Push For Another Latino-Vote Landslide

In 2008, Barack Obama captured two-thirds of the Hispanic vote, winning in crucial swing states with large Hispanic populations like Colorado, Nevada and Florida.

The president's re-election campaign is attempting to replicate that success for 2012, targeting those same states with this week's launch of its first set of Spanish-language television and radio ads.

In four separate ads, Latino campaign organizers recount personal stories as reasons for supporting the president, focusing on education.

In one ad, Obama volunteer Lynette Acosta explains the importance of a college degree to her and her family: "Without the help of loans, I would not have been able to study," Acosta says in the ad. "That's why everything the president has done to increase access to funding is so important. ... My mother says, 'The best gift you could give me is a diploma that I can hang on the living room wall.' "

The Romney campaign also recognizes the critical importance of the Hispanic vote. This week, the Republican National Committee announced its appointment of Hispanic outreach state directors in the swing states of Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and Virginia.

Marisa Abrajano, author of Campaigning to the New American Electorate: Advertising to Latino Voters, and a political science professor at University of California, San Diego, says starting the discussion with education is a smart way to approach Latino voters.

"Education has traditionally been an important issue and continues to be an important issue for Latino voters," Abrajano said in an email interview with NPR.

Abrajano says the ads are effective because they focus on policy issues rather than broad campaign themes. The Obama campaign said the president's efforts to increase funding for Pell Grants helped nearly 2 million Hispanics pay for college.

"Campaign messages that emphasize informative policy are much more effective at mobilizing Latinos than messages containing little to no policy appeals," says Abarajano. "So, policy messages that actually explain what Obama has accomplished while he has been in office, such as increasing funding for Pell Grants and Head Start, are the right kinds of messages to advertise."

In 2008, the Obama campaign created "Viva Obama" clubs and ran on the stump slogan "Si, se puede," Spanish for "Yes, we can," which Abrajano says was used often by the late labor organizer Cesar Chavez. (It was also, of course, Obama's English-language slogan in 2008.)

This year, the campaign is kicking off its Spanish-language outreach efforts with the slogan "Estamos Unidos," Spanish for "We are united."

"This year's theme of togetherness and unity may speak to the larger issue of polarization that's facing the nation as a whole," says Abrajano. "It may also hint at the idea that Democrats need to stay together and be united because of the way Republicans have been treating Latinos on the issue of immigration in recent years."

A new Quinnipiac University poll this week showed Obama retaining about a two-thirds lead over Romney among potential Hispanic voters.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Fox's 'Gracepoint': An American Remake Best Viewed With Fresh Eyes

Fox's new show Gracepoint is a remake of a British murder mystery, Broadchurch. NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans says those who saw the original might want to watch the new series with someone who hasn't.
NPR

California Cracks Down On Farmers Market Cheaters

Did your local farmer really grow that heirloom apple he just sold you? California wants to know, so it's sending more inspectors out to make sure the produce sold at markets is really local.
NPR

Top Spending PAC Aims To Keep The Senate In Democratic Hands

Senate Majority PAC, run by allies of Senate Majority Leader Reid, is the top-spending superPAC in the midterm election season. Its donors are essentially a compilation of the party's big-donor base.
NPR

Tech Firms Chip Away At Credit Cards' Share Of Transactions

Companies including PayPal and Apple are competing to convince merchants and consumers to use their swipe-and-go mobile payment systems. Credit card breaches may speed up the use of digital wallets.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.