Is the Latina Single Mom Vote in Play?

latina momsAll Americans are anxious for an economic rebound, especially those who lost the most and have made the fewest gains—Latina single moms. The economic recession officially started in 2007 under the watch of President George W. Bush, but the greatest pain, especially among Latinos was felt in 2009 under President Obama. There has been slow and steady economic improvement since the recession but there has not been a return to pre-recession economic levels, which Romney makes sure to highlight at every chance.

Given the Democratic policy agenda and the economic realities of Latina single moms it would seem that the support of this electorate is a slam-dunk for the President. Over the past three years the President and his party delivered on the promise for affordable healthcare through the overhaul of the healthcare system. Most recently Democrats have fought for the passage of the pay equity bill and have battled Republican attempts to curtail women’s reproductive freedoms. The President has sought to improve the life of those women, who like his mother, keep themselves and their children afloat.

One out of every two Latina single moms lives in poverty. Put differently, half of these women make ends meet with less than $15,000 a year. Latinos were the hardest hit by the recession, but Latina single moms and their families, were dealt the hardest blow. The question now is how this blow will shape the political preferences of Latina single moms come November—will they continue to be patient with the President or will they send him to time out?

Latina single moms and the GOP are two groups that are not typically thought of together. However, if there is one opportunity for these two opposites to attract it would be in the 2012 election. Romney has made economic recovery the centerpiece of his campaign and has pledged to get the economy back on track. The Republican presidential candidate is no friend of comprehensive immigration policy or liberal social policies. However, he has made every effort to keep these issues to the foreground and in doing so trained the spotlight on the most pressing issue for Latina single moms, economic recovery.

victoria defrancesco sotoRomney faces an uphill battle in wooing not just Latinas, but all women. Since 1980 the percentage of women voting for a Democratic presidential candidate has been greater than for the Republican challenger. Romney continues to be more popular among men, but he has been closing the gender gap over the last several months. He has developed messaging reminding women that they were the hardest hit by the recession and that they have the most to gain with him becoming the nation’s CEO. Women, including Latinas, just might figure they don’t have that much more to loose from with a Romney gamble.

Victoria Defrancesco Soto
Dr. VMDS

Posted: Sunday, 10 June 2012

Published by the LA Progressive on June 9, 2012
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About Victoria DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University and a Faculty Fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. She received her Ph.D. from Duke University in 2007 during which time she was a National Science Foundation Fellow. DeFrancesco Soto was recently named one of the top 12 scholars in the country by Diverse magazine.

Victoria’s research analyzes how human thought and emotion shapes political behavior. Her academic work focuses on: campaigns and elections, political marketing, race and ethnic politics, and immigration. Her academic research has been widely published in scholarly journals and edited volumes. In 2008, Dr. DeFrancesco Soto was Northwestern University’s principal investigator for the Big Ten Battleground Poll, a public opinion survey of voters for the 2008 Presidential election. She is currently working on a book manuscript that analyzes the emergence of conservative feminism.

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