Monthly Archives: May 2012

MPSL VLOG:Third Wheel in Party Politics

Never mind winning an election, it’s extremely hard for a third party candidate to even get on the ballot this fall. Professor Gaffaney explains.

Weekly Quiz: Test Yourself on this Week’s Events

The weekly quiz is now live in Mypoliscilab. Good luck!

Weekly Poll: Your Opinion on the Federal Budget Deficit and the National Debt

Recent polls show that the federal budget deficit and the national debt are emerging as the top concerns of most Americans in this year’s presidential election. What are your concerns?

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Virginia’s Enthusiastic Young Voters

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The youth vote helped push Obama over the top in 2008, but Al Madrigal finds an enthusiasm gap among young voters at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Video Glossary: Third Party

The Hispanic Vote—Myth, Monolith, Mystery

Garth Brooks singing the Don McLean song "...

Garth Brooks singing the Don McLean song “American Pie” at the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial concert. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the race for the White House moves along Hispanic voters will show up on the radar for both democratic and republican candidates. More experienced and knowledgeable commentators will know enough to differentiate between largely republican Cubans and Cuban Americans in Florida, from the deeply divided Texas contingent of Mexican cowboys that listen to Garth Brooks and those that stencil Michoacan on the back windows of their trucks. The Hispanic vote also includes the diverse block of socially conservative Catholic and growing evangelical Christians across the nation who believe in marriage between one man and one woman and their relatives who marry and divorce often—and sometimes with the same people. And don’t forget the urban Latino professionals who have managed to make it out of college and graduate programs to take very good jobs in every industry you can imagine. The so-called Hispanic vote is there for the taking.

Aggregated, the Hispanic vote largely goes to democratic candidates in percentages that make the gender gap look ridiculously trivial (anywhere from sixty-five to over seventy percent). In a good year, a republican candidate can get close to forty percent of the Hispanic vote. That translates into an unpopular democratic candidate getting just over sixty percent of the Hispanic vote. Over a decade ago I worked as a researcher for the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute (one of the most important Latino think tanks in the nation). Our research routinely led us to conclude that Hispanic voters shared many of the same characteristics as other democratic groups of voters. Some care more about social issues. Some care more about immigration issues. Some care quite a bit about crime and the environment. Most care an awful lot about the economy and jobs and their children’s education. To make a long story short, candidates on both sides are going to have to work this one out on their own. The term “Hispanic” was actually first used by the Census Bureau as a term to capture the growing Spanish surnamed population in the United States. It’s an arbitrary and largely artificial term used to identify a very real and very complicated assortment of peoples and experiences that have contributed greatly to the American experiment. What do you think? Will the Hispanic vote help determine the winner for 2012? Will democratic and republican candidates figure out how to play the Rubik’s Cube of the Hispanic vote?

–DENNIS FALCON

MPSL VLog: “I Wanna Be Loved By You”: Wooing Women Voters

The widely reported “gender gap” is the basis for renewed campaign strategies to appeal to women voters. Professor Gaffaney explains.