Monday, April 5, 2004

Venceremos, Sr. Kerry

From the Miami Herald:

John Kerry, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, holds a wide but not necessarily comfortable lead over President Bush among Hispanic voters nationwide, giving both sides room to maneuver within that critical constituency, according to a new poll.

Results of The Herald/Zogby International Hispanic Poll foreshadow an aggressive outreach effort by both campaigns as they seek to woo a coveted voting bloc that has the potential to tip key battleground states such as Florida, New Mexico and Arizona.

The results also reflect national surveys that have found that, with eight months to go before the election, voters of all backgrounds remain polarized.

“The Hispanic vote is borderline for Kerry and it’s borderline for the president,” said pollster John Zogby, who conducted the survey of 1,000 likely voters. “Nothing is going to make this one easy to predict.”

Kerry, who secured the nomination just last month, holds an apparently cushy 58 percent to 33 percent lead over Bush among voters who identify themselves as Hispanic. But the survey reveals potential hurdles for the senator from Massachusetts. Strategists say he must keep Bush’s support among Hispanic Americans to less than 35 percent if he is to have a shot at defeating the president.

Bush narrowly secured the White House in 2000 in part by chewing into the traditionally Democratic Hispanic base and drawing 35 percent of its vote. Although Cuban Americans in South Florida are overwhelmingly Republican, Hispanics with roots in other Latin American countries tend to vote Democratic.

Encouraged by the 2000 numbers – and the presence in Florida of Bush’s popular younger brother in the governor’s mansion – Republicans are seeking to boost Bush’s standing among Hispanic Americans to 40 percent this year, with Bush hitting hard on conservative issues that play well with Hispanics, such as family values and religion.

It’s no surprise that Bush leads with the Cuban American community here in South Florida. The Republicans could run a complete moron for president and he’d still win that vote. (Oh, wait…)

On another level, does this mean that New Mexico governor Bill Richardson is still in the running for the veep slot?