Who Are Hispanic Americans, and How Will They Vote?Ray Suarez
RAY SUAREZ is Senior Correspondent for PBS NewsHour.
In June, as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Arizona's controversial immigration law and the Obama administration announced a significant change in U.S. deportation policies, the country's roughly 50 million Latino residents were once again transformed from a diverse collection of individuals into an ethnic bloc and then into a political issue in the 2012 campaign season. It was hardly the first time, and it will certainly not be the last, as the U.S. government and American society and political culture struggle to make sense of the country's rapidly shifting demographics.
By now, the main questions have become familiar. How many Latino voters are there? What do they care about? Are they conservative or liberal? Republicans or Democrats? Will Candidate X figure out how to appeal to them? Will they vote in November? If they overperform in the census but underperform at the polls, does it matter that Latino populations seem to be growing quickly in hotly contested swing states?
What has also become familiar is the lack of good answers to these questions, notwithstanding the many commentators, most of them not