Presidential Television Campaigns: Se Hablan Espanol
Reynolds School of Journalism
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Presidential candidates recognized the value of targeting Latinos in their election campaigns starting in the 1980s. Because Latinos were the largest minority group in the United States as of the 2008 elections, presidential hopefuls turned to using Spanish media and the Spanish language to connect to the Latino population in hopes of influencing Latino voting behaviors. In the 21st century, the Democratic and Republican parties increased spending exponentially toward Spanish language advertisements on Spanish media networks such as Telemundo and Univisión. A content analysis of seven presidential television commercials, chosen by their popularity and their high volume of online discussion provided insight into how presidential candidates used Spanish language and Latino issues to target the Latino vote. While the use of Spanish language the main tactic employed to target the Latino vote, this research shows it is of secondary importance to the issues presented in the commercials, such as education and the economy. Thus the combination of the use of Spanish and focusing on issues important to Latinos would be the most effective way to target the Latino vote.