Calls made for more Hispanic spend in campaigns


As Randy Falco, Univision CEO recently sent a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates to complain about the lack of a debate tailored for Latino audiences, Javier Palomarez, CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, announced this week that his group would track spend by candidates and organizations on Spanish-language television, radio, and in print and online in 10 states through the November elections. Their found that in 2010, spending on Spanish-language TV averaged about 3.9%, down slightly from just over 4% in 2008, reported NBC Latino/AP.

The numbers stand in contrast to reports showing Univision outperforming most English-language networks in certain age groups and specific time slots: “We think the American public recognizes networks like Univision are very effective, but for some reason politicians never got the memo,” Palomarez said.

The Hispanic Chamber represents 3.1 million businesses that generate more than $465 billion a year in sales.

The presidential campaigns have spent $350 million in nine highly competitive states for all types of commercials thus far, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. Those states are Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida. With the presidential race expected to be close, Latino turnout could help decide the outcome in those states.

In June, Obama was outspending Romney in ads directed at Spanish-speaking Hispanics. His campaign had spent $1.7 million since mid-April on ads in Spanish in Florida, Nevada and Colorado, according to SMG-Delta.

The Obama campaign sent Web links to a number of Spanish- and English-language sites geared toward Hispanics. “For over a year, we have used all the tools at our disposal from innovative advertising to grassroots organizing in the Latino community to promote the president’s record,” spokeswoman Gabriela Domenzain told NBC Latino/AP in an email.

Romney’s campaign had spent $33,000 on Spanish-language ads in television markets in North Carolina and Ohio by early June. Ana Carbonell, adviser to Romney’s organization on Hispanics, said the campaign did two Spanish-language ads during in the primaries and has done a total of eight in the general election campaign in Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia and Ohio.

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials estimates some 12 million Latinos will vote in this election. There were about 21.3 million voting eligible Hispanics — citizens 18 or older — in 2010 and about a third, 31.2 percent went to the polls for the midterm elections, according to Pew Hispanic Center.

In 2008, when Obama’s candidacy drew record turnout, half of registered Latino voters went to the polls, the center’s survey found.

With upcoming elections expected to be tight in some states, and the Latino population expanding in many battleground states, “wouldn’t it be a smart investment to reach a voter that nobody is talking to?” Palomarez asked.

See The NBC Latino/AP story here