Whitman’s Investment in Latino Outreach May Not Pay on Election Day

October 24th, 2010 · 8 Comments

A recent USC/LA Times poll shows that California Gubernatorial Candidate Jerry Brown is leading his Republican opponent Meg Whitman by 13 points among likely voters and by 36 points for Latino voters. Furthermore, amongst Latinos, Whitman’s unfavorable rating has gone from 34 to 52 percent. Analysts attribute the recent drop in support to the housemaid fiasco and Whitman’s response in the Fresno debate about the DREAM Act, which would give a pathway to citizenship for deserving undocumented youth.

These numbers show that there is a distrust within the Latino community of Meg Whitman and that the community wasn’t entirely sold on her clever ads, and whatever credibility she had built started to slip with the revelations of how she handled the undocumented housekeeper issue. Really, politics is personal, and with only a fraction of the investment that Whitman has made in flashy ads, Jerry Brown has pulled safely ahead with the Latino electorate. To my knowledge, only this SEIU ad is airing in Spanish in support of Jerry Brown, and in my view, it’s not nearly as polished as the ads Meg Whitman has aired in Spanish:

For me, the irony regarding the SEIU ad is that Cesar Chavez was not an advocate for the undocumented, but issue organizations and labor like to use his image. And I find his niece’s Spanish to be very scripted. Not a great ad, but it’s a small drop in the bucket compared to what Whitman has unveiled in her media blitz.

Tags: Education · Immigration

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 H // Oct 24, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    You are wrong in saying Cesar Chavez was not an advocate for undocumented workers. He was. What he opposed was the growers’ use of them as strike breakers. Some of those same strikebreakers ended up becoming UFW members.

  • 2 webmaster // Oct 25, 2010 at 10:11 am


    Welcome to the blog. Cesar Chavez was an advocate for citizen or legal farm workers. He was a labor leader, not an undocumented person advocate. I think that maybe he started to realize that he could bring undocumented people into his coalition once they became legalized, as you mentioned above. Read this post and comment here:

    I have read that Chavez was against temporary workers (braceros) and did not support undocumented workers. His primary concern was the plight of legal farm workers in the fields. I have even read an excerpt that Chavez sent his cousin to the Mexican border and encouraged would-be border crossers to stay home, even resorting to violence. According to these writers, the UFW even called the INS encouraging agency to detain undocumented workers:

    I don’t know of any advocates for undocumented workers who go and violently attack the people that they claim to be advocating for…which is why I say that Chavez was primarily a labor leader…not an undocumented person leader.

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  • 5 Anna // Oct 29, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Re: “Cesar Chavez was an advocate for citizen or legal farm workers.”

    He was an advocate for American farm workers. You’re right that he was not a leader for undocumented workers, but I don’t see why you think it’s ironic that Jerry Brown and the unions use his image. They’re appealing to people who can vote.

    As for Whitman, I think the maid issue caused her base to turn against her because there is no reason why a billionaire could not hire an American worker and pay decent wages. I think it also caused many Latino voters to look up Meg’s record and see that she has been giving conflicting information about her positions on various issues.

    I don’t think too many people are really basing their vote on how Meg treated her maid.

  • 6 webmaster // Oct 30, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    “I don’t think too many people are really basing their vote on how Meg treated her maid.”

    Perhaps, but since Whitman has now said that she thinks the maid should be deported, she has dug herself further in the hole. There are polls showing that solid majorities support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people who have been working for so long, and it seems like Nicky Diaz would be one to benefit from that.

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