A quick visual that America is truly a diverse nation of immigrants. This map illustrates the top language, other than English, spoken at home in each county in the country. No surprise, Spanish is the most popular second language in the U.S. Thanks to Washington Post’s The Fix, who like us, is obsessed with maps.

“Who knew that Italian was so popular in a county in southeastern Montana? Or that French was so prevalent in all of Maine? Or that Scandanavian (Norwegian, Swedish etc.) was the prevalent second language in the northernmost points of North Dakota and Minnesota? The map serves as (yet another) reminder that most of all politics is (still) local.”

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The map comes courtesy from the Sunlight Foundation. (Click the map to see a bigger image on their site.)

Wish I could see which is the second most spoken language in each county. I’m pretty sure we would see a spike in Asian languages.

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A new study from Pew Research looks at who uses social media and found the minorities have a higher use of social networking platforms compared to their white counterparts. This latest study on the state of social media is the first reportable data of Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr allowing comparison among demographics – white, African-Americans and Hispanics. Among the most popular social sites Hispanics and Blacks over-indexed as social network users.

The breakdown for:

Twitter:

16% of all Internet users use Twitter

Gender:

Men – 17%

Women – 15%

 

Race/Ethnicity:

White – 14%

Black – 26%

Hispanic – 19%

Pinterest:

15% of all internet users use Pinterest

Gender:

Men – 5%

Women – 25%

Race/Ethnicity:

White – 18%

Black – 8%

Hispanic – 10%

Instagram:

13% of all internet users use Instagram

Gender:

Men – 10%

Women – 16%

Race/Ethnicity:

White – 11%

Black – 23%

Hispanic – 18%

Tumblr:

6% of all internet users use Tumblr

Gender:

Men – 6%

Women – 6%

Race/Ethnicity:

White – 6%

Black – 5%

Hispanic – 8%

Read the full report at Pew Research.

While Facebook is the most used social media website (67% of internet users), the report did not release race/ethnicity specific data. A 2009 study found that white and Asian-Americans over indexed on Facebook. The company is making changes to attract a more diverse user base.

In 2011 Pew Hispanic released a study on Hispanic use of the internet – “Latinos and Digital Technology”. Other reports define Hispanics as early adopters of social media and outpace other demographic groups in the United States in the use of social networking sites. Check out this blog post from 2011 for more.

 

Republican Presidential campaigns are solidifying their strategy to connect with Latino voters, the nation’s largest growing demographic and a critical swing vote in battle ground states. The diverse group of voters is a must win for both political parties in order to claim victory in November 2012, given the break down of the electoral map.

Recently, the Obama team described possible paths to victory for the incumbent President, explaining how he can win the 270 electoral votes necessary to secure a second term. Four out of the Five paths rely heavily on support from the Latino community. Republicans are hoping to change that equation with renewed efforts to improve the Party’s image with the Hispanic electorate.

In a recent interview with AFP the GOP campaigns discussed the Latino vote and how they plan to win over Hispanic voters.  Given the failing economy and overall Latino disapproval of President Barack Obama many Republicans are mapping out their own path to victory with the Latino vote.

“We realize that Hispanics are an important part of both the primary process and the general election process,” said Ryan Williams, a spokesman for the campaign of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

“We’re committed to reaching out to them and discussing Governor Romney’s messages on jobs and economy,” he added.

More than 60 percent of US Hispanics are of Mexican origin or descent, with other large communities from Central American nations, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Increasingly more have come from South American nations like Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. Because the group is so diverse — with different social, linguistic, religious and economic priorities linked only by Spanish colonial cultural ties — it is hard to target as an electoral force…

…Gingrich, in an address in New York state this month, said “my basic approach is first of all the economy: the Latino community is very hard-working, they take care of their families.”

“Gingrich really understands that Latinos think for ourselves. It’s the same thing (Republican president Ronald) Reagan used to say: that Hispanics were Republican and just didn’t know it yet,” joked Sylvia Garcia, Gingrich’s National Hispanic Inclusion Director.”

Read more of Jordi Zamora’s AFP article: “Republicans bid to overhaul image, woo Hispanics

A new poll by Latino Decisions shows that about half of Latino voters are still undecided on who to vote for President and are not excited about the upcoming 2012 election. The data is bad news for President Obama who needs a super majority of Latino support, about 75%, to secure a second term in the White House.

The new poll examined a variety of topics including likely voter turnout and important policy issue facing Latinos, economy and jobs still remain at the top of that list. Latino Decisions poll also asked about the role of religion in Latino political attitudes, the impact of Marco Rubio on a presidential ticket and the efforts of both political parties in engaging Hispanic voters.

While the ever changing Republican primary has generated a lot of media attention, it has done little to excite the average Hispanic voter about the Presidential election. Only 44% of Latino voters said they are very enthusiastic about participating in next year’s U.S. presidential election, compared with 47% in October and 50% in August.

When examining Latino attitudes towards the GOP and the Republican Party it is clear that there is much work to be done. About 20% of Latino respondents said they are certain or are considering voting for a Republican candidate. Half of Latinos feel the Republican Party  is doing a poor job in connecting with Hispanics. This can be turned into an opportunities for Republican candidates to connect and motivate Hispanic voters who aren’t currently engaged in the political debate. A recent Univision poll found that a majority of Latino voters still were not familiar with the Republican presidential field.

A rare topic that was examined by the Latino Decisions poll was religion and politics from the perspective of Latino voters. It found that while Latinos are somewhat more religious as compared to non-Latinos, their religious beliefs are far less relevant to their political attitudes. 53% of respondents said that religion had no impact on their vote and about 55% of Latinos don’t care about a candidate’s religion. When asked about Mormonism,  less than 1/3 of Latinos know that Mormonism is a form of Christianity – a question that was clearly aimed at understanding Latino attitudes towards Republican Mitt Romney.

Read the full report and see the slide deck on the poll at Latino Decisions: “Latinos not very enthusiastic about the 2012 election

“…The impreMedia/Latino Decisions poll began measuring the election preferences of Latino voters in February of this year. It has been measuring their enthusiasm for voting in next year’s presidential election and their potential support for President Obama and a Republican rival. In six separate polls, Latino voters’ tendency to identify with the Democrats and President Obama’s approval rating among the majority of Latinos—except for Latino Republicans—have fluctuated somewhat, but have generally remained above 60%. Nevertheless, the voting intentions and enthusiasm of Latinos, which are crucial for Barack Obama’s re-election in states such as Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and even Arizona, which is now said to be up for grabs, are not as positive for the president as could be expected. “On the Democratic side, there’s no competition or much discussion. In 2008, as we remember, there was a lot of enthusiasm around the race, particularly between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama,” said Barreto….”

When talking to Latino voters, what is more important: the tone of the debate or the substance? That is the constant question asked by candidates, perplexed on how to effectively connect with the growing Hispanic electorate, scheduled to reach 12.2 million voters in 2012.  Even though the economy, jobs and education continue to be top issues for Latino voters, immigration has dominated the conversation.

Campaign & Elections Magazine has a new post by Chris Palko titled “Winning the Hispanic vote in 2012.” He states that recent numbers indicate that tone trumps substance on immigration. He also suggests some other topics candidates should focus on, including government spending, education and national security.

“…The media’s focus influences strategists from both political parties who routinely view the key to winning Hispanic voters as championing some form of immigration reform. But is immigration really the main issue of concern for Hispanics? Not by a long shot. The No.1 issue that Hispanic voters care about is education…

…Republicans do have an image problem among most Hispanic voters, but it is not a crushing deficit and there is room for improvement. Democrats, meanwhile, are more trusted overall, although they are far from beloved. In many respects, the immigration issue is a proxy for “respecting the Hispanic community.” If there are image problems for Republicans among Hispanics, it has more to do with a perceived lack of respect than the details of an immigration policy. Moreover, Republican politicians could make inroads with Hispanic voters if they indicate that they respect the community, and refrain from demonizing immigrants…” READ MORE

The reason tone is so important in efforts to connect with Hispanics is easy, a Latino will not consider a candidate if he/she feels the tone of that person is harsh or anti-Latino. A candidate can be offering all the answers in the world, be full of great substance, but if a Latino feels the candidate hates Latinos, the candidates is not going to get that vote.

As the 2012 election inches closer, Republican candidates must ensure they are connecting and engaging Hispanic voters.  Recently, the Obama campaign announced their National Latino Vote Director. On the Republican side, only Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman have announced official efforts to court Latino voters.

A recent Univision poll has Obama ahead of GOP Presidential candidates. Yet, it also showed that Republican candidates have made little effort to connect with Hispanic voters, and have low name identification.

“At the moment, Latinos are not very familiar with the slate of Republican candidates. Over half – 53 percent – have never no opinion of or have never heard of Cain, for instance…

All four of the following candidates – Romney, Perry, Cain and Gingrich – have net negative favorability ratings among Latinos. And Romney, whom political insiders view as the favorite for the GOP nomination, is unknown to many Latinos: 46 percent say they have no opinion or have never heard of him.

Only 13 percent of Latinos say the GOP has done a good job reaching out to them, while 42 percent say Republicans don’t care too much about them and 30 percent believe they are being openly hostile. By comparison, 45 percent of Latinos believe that Democrats have done a good job of reaching out them, while 32 percent say they are apathetic. Only eight percent say they are openly hostile.”

Republicans have a major opportunity this election cycle to connect with Latino voters, given the growing disenchantment with Obama among Hispanics and the general electorate. In order for the GOP to win the White House, they need Latinos, about 40% of the support of the Hispanic community to win. Efforts to engage Hispanic must start now for the Republican Party to have a real chance to win in November 2012.

A recent poll of California voters provides an interesting snap shot on public perception on the Dream Act. There is a major ethnic divide. The L.A. Times reports “Among Latinos, 79% support government financial aid for illegal immigrants who attend state universities, compared with 30% of whites.”

Last month, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the California DREAM Act which allows children who were brought to the United States illegally as minors and graduate from a California high school, to obtain in-state tuition. It also allows them to apply for state financial aid benefits. Brown’s approval of the bill, passed by the state legislature, fulfills a campaign promise to allow high-achieving California students who want to become U.S. citizens the opportunity to obtain a college education, regardless of their immigration status.

The poll found that most Californians are concerned of rising cost of the state’s public university system and are worried of being “priced out.” Given tough economic times and rising higher education cost, the poll found that many voters object to allowing illegal immigrants the same financial aid that U.S. citizens can receive at the campuses. According to the L.A. Times:

“Fifty-five percent of the voters questioned said they oppose a new state law known as the California DREAM Act. It will permit undocumented students who graduated from California high schools and meet other requirements to receive taxpayer aid to attend the University of California, Cal State and community colleges starting in 2013. Forty percent support it.

But there is a huge ethnic divide on the issue, according to theUSC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times survey: 79% of Latinos approve of the law, while only 30% of whites do.

“There are not a lot of other issues on which there are such huge differences,” said Manuel Pastor, a USC professor of American studies and ethnicity….