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Hispanic Social Sentiment Lags for Estado de la Unión (SOTU)
Posted on February 1st 2014
Why is Spanish social media sentiment so down on the Estado de la Unión (SOTU) address even though President Obama has an overwhelming likeable sentiment?
Although the President urged Congress to pass the immigration reform bill this year in his “Year of Action” plan, was his call for action underplayed? Are the minimum wage reform proposals short-sighted? Is the economic disadvantage faced by middle class Hispanics, a growing reality, one that proposed minimum wage reform cannot hack? Are the inferior pay scales for Hispanic women—lower than the ratio of non-Hispanic females who earn 77 cents on the dollar—too much a struggle? Are Hispanics disillusioned by a disconnect perceived between the President’s promises and their expectations? Or it is that Hispanics were not invited by the First Lady to the President’s address, unlike other advocates and leaders who have worked to fulfill the President’s goals?
Social sentiment shows there is an element of Hispanic truth in all of the above.
There are lessons to be learned from President Obama’s negative NetBase social sentiment reading (-25%). But more important is that Hispanic social sentiment begs a closer look across the national political and social landscape.
As the midterm elections approach—and early jockeying for the Oval Office continues—it’s time for political incumbents and hopefuls to adopt a social listening plan that takes heed of Hispanic social temperament. While only 48% of eligible Hispanic voters voted in the 2012 Presidential election, this still represented a record 11.2 ballots cast. Higher Hispanic voter turnout for midterms could swing an election, especially in California where Latinos will surpass whites as the largest racial/ethnic group in March of this year.
In social media, and on its own merits, Twitter en español is quite revealing. It is one of the most accurate and unbiased instant gauges of constituent sentiment, especially when analyzed on a platform like NetBase that supports natural language processing. Nearly 75% of the Hispanic SOTU dialogue took place on Twitter.
Significantly, Hispanic millennials engage in social media at a higher rate than their non-Hispanic counterparts. Latinas, another critical constituent highly engaged in social media, are prolific bloggers who exhibit a unique cultural influencer style among their peer groups.
Another notable trend within the U.S. Hispanic population exists: The growing population of single mom breadwinners. The Hispanic women vote is significant for both policymakers and those aspiring to political office, as Latina civic engagement and electoral prowess continue to grow. And in the not too distant future will represent, in some states, the racial/ethnic majority.
Both during and after the Estado de la Unión address positive Hispanic Twitter sentiment registered for immigration reform. Not surprising, the majority of Hispanics favor removing the deportation threat for undocumented workers vs. immigration reform as a pathway to citizenship.
Note to Congress: #thetimeisnow