With both Nathan Deal and David Perdue winning with a wide margin, one has to wonder what happened to the Democratic Party of Georgia’s secret weapon, a.k.a. “minority voter turnout”. Did the anticipated voters not show up to the polls? Or did the Georgia Republican Party actually win a significant chunk of the minority voter share? Exit poll statistics of one demographic in particular seems to have surprised many.
National exit polls show Republican Governor Nathan Deal took 47 percent of Latino votes, while Republican Senator-elect David Perdue got 42 percent.
Compare that to the 2010 midterms, when Republicans nationally got about 34 percent of that demographic (Latino voting numbers were too small in 2008, the last time the state had a U.S. Senate race, for reliable polling data).
One could argue that the recent shift in Latino voting trends can be attributed to the Georgia Republican Party’s minority engagement efforts. Leo Smith, the Minority Engagement Director for the Georgia Republican Party is also quoted in the same article:
“When it comes to business opportunities and developing a personal economy, I think that our messaging really resonated,” said Leo Smith, who heads minority engagement for the Georgia Republican party.
Smith says the state GOP did virtually nothing to bring in Latinos in 2010, and looked to change that this time around. He said the party did a lot of outreach with the Latinos this year, speaking with community leaders, talking with Latino media and using Spanish messaging.
Leo Smith may actually be on to something here. A recent PewHispanic study shows that most Latino voters (49%) rate the economy as their number 1 issue, followed by health care (24%) and illegal immigration (16%). It is no secret that the economy was a key issue in the campaigns of Governor Deal and David Perdue. Is the recent Latino surge to the GOP a sign of things to come? Also, is the Republican Party’s fiscal platform enough to attract Latinos their way? Discuss.