Looking at the map, Hispanic advertising by the presidential campaigns seems all wrong. But experts say Hispanic voters in a handful of battleground states may benefit from the apparent misdirection.
So far the largest media markets for Hispanic voters – New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago – have seen virtually no paid advertisements from either the Bush-Cheney '04 or Kerry-Edwards 2004 campaigns. Polls indicate those states will vote solidly Democratic or Republican on Election Day. So both campaigns have concentrated their resources on the few states that could tip the balance in the electoral college. Hispanics figure prominently in five such states: Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado.
"The spending has been almost exclusively in the five top battleground states," says Adam Segal, director of the Hispanic Voter Project at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. "The Republicans have already spent over $1 million, and they say they'll spend more than in 2000. That would mean more than $2.5 million and potentially a lot more. ... The Kerry campaign has already spent $1 million."
Both campaigns agree that spending has concentrated on battleground states but not only Hispanic ones. "We have started earlier and devoted more resources to the Latino community this year than in 2000," says Sharon Castillo, national Hispanic spokeswoman for Bush-Cheney '04. "We are engaged, not only in Texas and the Southwest and Florida, but also in places like Ohio and Wisconsin and Michigan. These are places where Hispanics don't account for as much of the population, but they can mean the difference between win or lose."
According to spokeswoman Fabiola Rodriguez-Ciampoli, Kerry-Edwards 2004 has advertised on television, radio, and in print in 10 states – the Hispanic battleground states plus Oregon, Washington, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. With the campaign's $1 million ad buy in July, it has "out-spent what Gore-Leiberman spent in 2000," she says.
"Every indication points to record Spanish-language TV ad spending by presidential campaigns in this election," says Mr. Segal. "The fact it's only in a handful of states means that Hispanic voters in those states have power. For Hispanic small-business owners in the Southwest and Florida – especially those who can be influential in different ways than the average voter – it's a great opportunity to exert influence."
One organization working the connection between Hispanic economics and voting power is the New Democrat Network, an outgrowth of the pro-business New Democrat movement. The group says it has spent $2.5 million for television time in the five key Hispanic states, with the goal of spending a total of $5 million before Election Day.
In terms of message, the Bush and Kerry Hispanic ads emphasize the core pitches that appeal to all voters – national security, jobs, education, and health care. They also touch on biographical and character issues. "Our position is that Senator Kerry doesn't understand our [Hispanic] community," says Frank Guerra, CEO of Guerra DeBerry Coody, the San Antonio-based agency handling the Bush Hispanic account. "For the most part he has no record with Hispanics. They just haven't been on his radar screen."
Tactically, the Bush organization plans "to make sure Latinos are playing a role in the campaign," says Ms. Castillo. Special teams of Hispanic grass-roots supporters are organized in 30 states and Puerto Rico. The campaign has bilingual phone centers and a Spanish-language Web site(www.georgewbush.com/espanol) that features its television ads.
Most Popular Stories
- Apple Wants Samsung to Pay $22M for Patent Dispute Legal Bills
- Twitter Coming to Phones Without Internet
- NASA Fellowships, Scholarships Bring Diversity to Workforce
- Dish Network Leads 2013 Top 50 Advertisers List
- Networks Vie for U.S. Hispanic TV Viewers
- Ad Counts Rise in 2013 for Hispanic Magazines
- Jobs Report Brings Cheer As Unemployment Drops to Five-year Low
- Entravision Initiates Quarterly Cash Dividend
- Starbucks Gets Grinchy; No Gingerbread Lattes for Tampa Customers
- Warner Bros. Unleashes 'Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug' Merchandise