Lack of Spanish Advertising, Voter Suppression Strategy?

By Susana G. Baumann, Voxxi

And the battle continues…

Only days away from November 6, local TV stations and radio networks in the battleground states can’t have enough advertising spots to respond to both campaigns’ advertising hunger.

Local stations such as KSNV-DT Channel 3, ABC’s affiliate in Nevada and KVVU-TV, Channel 5, Las Vegas’ Fox affiliate, have seen their advertising political ad buys sore in the 2012 political crusade.

Nevada, a battleground state that represents six electoral votes, has seen an avalanche of campaign dollars, not only from the candidates themselves but also from PACS and other groups of interest.

From August 22 to August 28, Gov. Romney’s campaign spent $31,022.12 with KVVU and $138,189.42 with KLAS-TV, Channel 8 while Pres. Obama’s re-election campaign spent $14,400 with KSNV in just three days at the end of August, according to the FEC.

Moreover, from April 2012 to September 2012, the total political advertising dollars spent in Nevada reached $46, 534,940, a study by Kanta Media’s CMAG on behalf of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) reports.

Latino voter suppression?

But only 4.99 percent or $2,326,720 of those dollars spent has been paid up on Spanish-language advertising, not even $10 per each of the 268,000 Latino voters in Nevada, many of whom has been largely unemployedover 14 percent according to October estimates. Hispanics represent 10 percent of all registered voters in the state.

The Democratic Party spent a little over $1,400,000 in Spanish advertising for all races in Nevadaincluding President, Senate and House while Republicans laid out around $800,000, just nickels and dimes compared to the overall campaign spendingestimated at over $46 million.

The same scenario has repeated in all battleground states or in those states where the Hispanic vote can make a difference. The study looked at political TV advertising spending in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas and Virginia on local, state and federal election races.

“Political commentators from both sides of the aisle have said repeatedly that 2012 is the ‘year of the Hispanic voter.’” said Javier Palomarez, President and CEO of the USHCC. “But while political advertising spending records are being shattered, neither political party is investing a comparable percentage of their advertising dollars to reach these voters. The difference between rhetoric and action is striking and, frankly, troubling.”

Even in battleground states with higher percentage of Hispanic voters, such as Floridaat 16 percentthe numbers lag behind the total campaign dollars at 6.79 percent of over $107 million.

CMAG’s previous research comparing the 2008 and 2010 political cycles showed that during the Bush-Obama campaign an average of just 4.03 percent of all political TV ad spending and just 3.9 percent in 2010 went to Spanish-language stations across 28 top Hispanic markets.

With the Latino electoral vote increasing in many statesthis year alone it is estimated that Hispanic registered voters will reach 14 millionthe numbers are nothing but shocking.

The truth is that advertising is the single most effective tool candidates and parties have to communicate their message to voters,” said Monica Lozano, CEO of ImpreMedia, a Spanish portal based in Brooklyn, NY. “So when those candidates and parties fail to advertise on Spanish-language media, it has the practical effect of cutting millions of Hispanics out of America’s political conversation,” she added.

Spanish language (S-L) media spent for current election cycle

State Hispanic Percentage of All Registered Voters Total Political Ad Spent in State Total Ad Spent on
S-L Media
Democratic Party Spending on S-L Media (President, Senate, House) Republican Party Spending on S-L Media (President, Senate, House)
Arizona 14% $16,640,810 $279,550(1.68% of all political ad $) $171, 260 $0
California 19% $44,089,900 $1,075,190(2.44% of all political ad $) $249,030 $12,740
Colorado 7% $35,896,010 $2,293,890(6.39% of all political ad $) $1,602,270 $456,350
Florida 16% $107,371,720 $7,295,840(6.79% of all political ad $) $4,260,740 $2,118,750
Illinois 6% $5,536,060 $4,120(0.07% of all political ad $) $0 $0
New Mexico 25% $7,910,400 $140,160(1.77% of all political ad $) $139,210 $0
Nevada 10% $46,534,940 $2,326,720(4.99% of all political ad $) $1,438,940 $799,600
New York 9% $17,236,980 $360,190(2.09% of all political ad $) $42,400 $298,000
Texas 23% $44,528,140 $2,634,480(5.92% of all political ad $) $2,100,920 $30,420
Virginia 2% $33,153,460 $0(0.00% of all political ad $) $0 $0
Grand Total: $358,898,420 $16,410,140(4.57% of all political ad $) $9,833,510 $3,71

This article was first published in Voxxi.

Susana G Baumann is the Director of LCSWorldwide. A multicultural expert, a business blogger & a published author. Booklist Online calls her book “Hola, amigos! A Plan for Latino Outreach” a “centerpiece of the publisher’s Latinos and Libraries series.”

[Photo courtesy Public News Service]




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