Politics

More than Half of U.S. Latinos Political Independents

According to a recently-released USA Today/Gallup poll, 51 percent of U.S. Hispanics identify themselves as political independents, as opposed to Democrat (32%) or Republican (11%). However, according to Gallup, “once their partisan leanings are taken into account, most Hispanics affiliate with the Democratic Party (52%) rather than the Republican Party (23%).”
Among Hispanic registered voters, 45 percent declare themselves independents, while 36 percent are registered Democrats and 16 percent, registered Republicans, the story reported
The results “confirm a growing trend toward independent political identification among U.S. Hispanics in recent years, surpassing the 50 percent mark in 2011, according to annual aggregate data from Gallup Daily tracking,” Gallup said.  In fact, a recent Pew Research Poll designates Hispanics as the fastest-growing group of independent voters.
The Gallup survey also reveals a difference between immigrants and U.S.-born Hispanics:  Hispanic immigrants are more likely to lack party affiliation, “contributing to the high proportion of political independence among the U.S. Hispanic population in general,” Gallup said.
Sixty percent of Hispanic immigrants identify themselves as independents, as opposed to 44 percent of first-generation Hispanics.  Each succeeding generation of Hispanics is more likely to identify as Republican than the previous one.
Jennifer Korn, executive director of the Republican-based Hispanic Leadership Network, established to bring more Hispanic voters into the party fray, observed, “The more they assimilate, the more sophisticated they become and that’s when they start dividing between parties.”
Diversity within what politicos often view as a voting bloc, the Hispanic vote presents a challenge for both parties on the eve of the 2012 election.  That “bloc” includes groups as disparate as the Cubans in Florida—inclined to vote Republican, and the traditionally Democratic Puerto Ricans.
A NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll of 300 registered Hispanic voters conducted between July 18 and 22 shows President Barack Obama leading presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney among Latinos by 67 percent to 23 percent.
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