Commentary

Loyalty, Engagement And The Hispanic Vote

Nine percent of the 2008 electorate was Latino. That's 1% more than the 2004 election, and while the outcome is old news, it's interesting to note that Hispanics voted for Barack Obama and Joe Biden over John McCain and Sarah Palin by a margin of 2:1, or 67% versus 31%.

While there may be safety in numbers, they often don't tell the whole story. Just like brands, loyalty and engagement metrics can be used to measure presidential candidates. The technique is more accurate than traditional polling because it measures what voters think, as opposed to what they say they think. The four drivers of loyalty and engagement that define the Ideal President are:

Action: Does the candidate have a comprehensive, realistic, well-considered plan for solving the problems facing the country?

Compassion: Does the candidate care about all the people? Is the candidate someone like me?

Perception: Does the candidate have a deep understanding of the problems facing the county?

Resolve: Does the candidate have the strength and leadership to guide the country?

And, just like brands, candidates are measured by voters as to how well they meet, or exceed, expectations that voters hold for each of the drivers. These expectations change by voter segment, and Hispanics were no exception.

The drivers where Hispanic voters held the highest expectations, and were most engaged, were "Compassion" and "Resolve." Among Hispanics, Obama was rated very highly on "Compassion" and was tied with McCain on "Resolve." These values clearly reflected those that were most important to the Hispanic audience. This was different from non-Hispanic segments, where the highest expectations were to be found on the remaining drivers, "Action" and "Perception."

No other major demographic group in the country swung so heavily to Obama as Latinos did between the primaries and the general election and, thus, the Hispanic voters played a deciding role in this historic election. Now we know why.

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