The swing vote in a swing state

Hispanic voters may determine if Colorado goes blue or red

The upcoming presidential election has Manuel Pilas confused.

Pilas, a Mexican immigrant who came to the United States for college, said voting is important to him and he will vote in the election, but he has no idea who he will vote for.

“There’s no way a businessperson can open up completely — I cannot really take my flag out and say this is the way I’m voting,” said Pilas, who owns the Santa Fe Furniture store in Gypsum. “[But] I can say that in this election I’m going to be the most confused ever.”

Pilas is not alone. Hispanic voters will face a ballot this fall with both their Democratic favorite, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and their Republican favorite, Rudy Giuliani, missing from the ticket. A nationwide Pew Research Center survey conducted last December discovered that Hispanic Democrats favored Clinton by 59 percent, with only 15 percent of Hispanic Democrats supporting Obama. Only 10 percent of Hispanic Republicans supported GOP candidate John McCain.

Hispanic support for the Republican party has dropped substantially since the last presidential election. In the 2004 election, George W. Bush drew a record 40 percent of the Hispanic vote; the Pew survey shows that Latino Republican support is now down to 23 percent.

One voter’s solution will be to vote for her chosen candidate anyway. Hispanic Eagle resident Caroline Gonzales, 65, said she has been a Democrat all her life and will write Clinton in on the ballot in this year’s election.

Gonzales heard Obama speak at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, where she was a delegate from Iowa. “He has a lot of charisma, but that’s about it,” she said. “He looks like a wonderfully wrapped Christmas gift but you open the box and there’s nothing there.”

Read the rest here.

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