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Are Latinos Iowa's Untapped Undecided Voters?

October 13, 2008

Des Moines, IA – Iowa is considered a battleground state because it contains so many undecided voters. But who are they - and are the candidates really targeting them?

Amelia Anderson, director of the Main Street Project, listened to hundreds of people who attended the Iowa Latino Conference in Des Moines this weekend - and she believes she met many of the uncommitted rural voters.

"In many cases, it's the rural areas that are still up for grabs and, particularly in the Midwest, the largest and the fastest-growing populations are Latino; and Latinos are living in rural areas."

She says those voters are listening carefully to the candidates' views about some key issues.

"Bread-and-butter issues matter to Latinos, but I think where you see people really passionate and getting involved and particularly listening for what the candidates have to say, is around those issues related to employment, education - and certainly, immigration."

The conference included a voter-registration drive, but Anderson noticed only a few people signed up. She says that's because many Latinos in Iowa pre-registered, and some of the younger attendees have even voted early.

Dick Layman/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - IA