Politics

Valley voters react to President's visit

Monday, October 08, 2012

President Obama's Valley visit is drawing mixed reviews from voters.

An exclusive Action News poll conducted by Survey USA shows a majority of Valley voters say it makes no difference on how they'll vote.

Whether you loved or hated the president's first valley visit depends a lot on party affiliation.

But among undecided voters, we discovered a trend that could make this trip pay off -- not here in California, but in other parts of the country.

President Obama's first ever visit to the Valley is raising the spirits of local Democrats.

"We wish he was stopping in Fresno, but we can't have everything," said Michael Evans, who chairs the Fresno County Democratic Central Committee. "But he is here to support the United Farm Workers and that's really positive."

The trip to make a national monument out of Cesar Chavez's former home isn't likely to move the needle for voters in the Central Valley.

In fact, our exclusive Action News poll conducted by Survey USA showed voters were mostly indifferent about the president's visit.

But drilling down to just Hispanic voters, the numbers shift in Obama's favor.

40 percent say they're actually more likely to vote for him because of this one visit to the Valley -- voters like Guillermina Chavez.

"He's a good man," she said.

They're not related, but the 70-year-old once hosted Cesar Chavez in her home.

Now, she attends Fresno's adult school named for him.

President Obama's decision to pay tribute to the union activist earned him her vote.

"This year I said, 'I'm not going to vote for him' for, you know, a lot of stuff, but when I heard last night, I said, 'No. I'll vote for Obama,'" said Guillermina Chavez.

Valley Republicans say the president should've come to the Valley long ago and paid attention to the needs of the country's number one agricultural area.

They say Monday's stop is nothing more than pandering.

"I think there's probably going to be a number of Hispanics that will vote for Romney this time and wouldn't be surprised if Obama has internal polling that says that he better shore up the base," said Fred Vanderhoof, a vice-chair of the Fresno County Republican Party.

Obama's Hispanic base could be especially important in swing states like Florida and Nevada.

He already has a strong lead among Hispanics in those states, but some Republicans say the Chavez tribute was just a political ploy to make it even stronger.

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Tags:
kern county, president barack obama, united farm workers union, politics, corin hoggard
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