Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

New Mexico’s 47 percent

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In the past week, “47 percent” has been a common theme in the news. This number doesn’t refer to approval ratings or the number of Americans supporting one candidate over another. This number was uttered by Governor Romney in a speech in May that is resurfacing now with fervor. In his comments the 47 percent he was referring to are the number of people who will vote for President Obama no matter what and who are dependent on the government because they are victims of their circumstances. This comment obviously led to a great amount of fallout nation wide.

In New Mexico, Governor Martinez swiftly separated herself from Romney’s loaded comments and told the press no matter what the economic status of a person, everyone’s vote matters equally. As a leader of a state with 22.2 percent of the population with economic levels below the poverty line, she understands how her constituents would react to these comments. Romney’s 47 percent pointed to the 26 percent of people who receive Medicaid, 16 percent who receive social security and 16 percent of the population dependent on food stamps. These people are spread throughout the nation however; New Mexico is home to a good number of them. According to the Albuquerque Business Journal, New Mexico is the 8th largest recipient of Medicaid. The state also has 38.4 percent of people who collect social security and 20.5 percent of the population who are dependent on food stamps. These segments of the population make up a healthy portion of New Mexicans, a healthy portion that Romney will need to win over if he wants to clinch the five golden delegates New Mexico has to offer.

My grain of salt that I wish to offer Governor Romney is this, he should start making a bigger effort to reach out to Hispanics and show them he is a person who cares about their well being in this country and he will fight for them if he takes office. Right now, especially with the leak of these comments, a fissure has been created with the people of New Mexico and the only way he can mend that is taking concrete steps to connect with Hispanics.

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