Commercial space on Spanish-language TV in Las Vegas is jam packed with political ads in the final stretch before Election Day.
Related Story: Las Vegas Hit Hard By Political TV Ads In Spanish
VERONICA ZARAGOVIA: Nevada’s Latinos make up about 15 percent of registered voters.
And because Las Vegas is a small TV market, television ads are cheap here -- so campaigns, PACs and political committees are throwing millions of dollars at ads to sway Latino voters.
Ads like this pro-Romney spot criticizing Barack Obama’s immigration reform.
(ROMNEY AD IN SPANISH HERE) -- Como governador Mitt Romney trabajó con Democratas para lograr soluciónes. Romney y los Republicanos lucharán para una reforma....
(AD SOUND RUNNING UNDER TRACK)
VERONICA ZARAGOVIA: Or this one, with Obama praising immigrant students...
(AD SOUND HERE THEN UNDER....) Los jovenes conocidos como los dreamers, veo las mismas calidades que yo y Michelle tratamos de inculcar en nuestras hijas.
VERONICA ZARAGOVIA: This year in Las Vegas alone, at least $4 million dollars has been spent on Spanish-language TV ads at two stations...Univision and Telemundo. That’s according to analyst firm Kantar Media. In 2008, at the same two stations, only $600 thousand dollars was spent.
(Ambi sound of Meadows Mall up)
VERONICA ZARAGOVIA: Miguel Funes moved here 15 years ago from Honduras. He says he’s tired of the mailers, the robocalls and the incessant barrage of political ads on TV.
MIGUEL FUNES: Usually when I turn on the TV, I want to watch something else. If there’s a moment you don’t want to watch the same thing -- especially when you already decided who you’re going to vote for. Oh -- and calls. Ugh -- my phone at home is always ringing. Ring ring ring! (17 seconds)
(Ambi sound of Meadows Mall continues)
VERONICA ZARAGOVIA: But Alicia Alcuna likes the attention. She’s on medical leave from her job sewing uniforms at the Hard Rock Casino.
She says politicians make a first impression and cover important issues in these spots.
(Alicia Alcuna in Spanish dips under)
TRANSLATION: Seeing these ads is important, Alcuna says. It’s the first point of contact when I think ‘oh that interests me. But it’s the fact that I saw it on television that first provoked my interest. (11 seconds)
VERONICA ZARAGOVIA: But does the Spanish spoken in these ads matter?
(Dean Heller ad up then dip)
VERONICA ZARAGOVIA: Republican Dean Heller is campaigning for a Senate seat in Nevada. His wife Lynne speaks in this ad.
(Dean Heller ad up)
LYNNE HELLER (in Spanish): Dean Heller es un buen padre y esposo, y ahora tambien – abuelo.... (8 seconds)
VERONICA ZARAGOVIA: In the ad, we see a pastoral scene -- Heller walking with Lynne, and leading a horse. Professor Federico Subervi gives this one a failing grade.
FEDERICO SUBERVI: Her Spanish doesn’t overcome the disconnect with that particular image. (7 seconds)
VERONICA ZARAGOVIA: Subervi leads the Center for the Study of Latino Media and Markets at Texas State University.
FEDERICO SUBERVI: ….Showing him with a horse is kind of way out of social class for most Latinos. About being someone who takes care of a nice private horse in a nice private ranch. That’s class beyond connection with Latinos. (18)
VERONICA ZARAGOVIA: Subervi says campaigns should make these ads in English as well so that Latinos who don’t speak Spanish can refer to the same ad when discussing the campaigns.
VERONICA ZARAGOVIA: But no matter the language, the common reference for Latino voters will be a candidate who speaks to their needs.
Take Voter Alfonso Razo who works at the Las Vegas Convention Center. He's not paying attention to the bad Spanish accents, but on who is going to follow through for the Latino community...
(RAZO in Spanish then dips...)
TRANSLATION: Razo says, ‘When they get elected, it would be good if they not only speak in Spanish but they actually put the effort to help us. If they want our help, they shouldn’t forget Spanish once elected. (16 seconds)
(A MONTAGE -- CLIPS FROM THREE ADS...)
VERONICA ZARAGOVIA In these last few days leading up to Election Day, Univision and its sister station TeleFutura say they have more than 1 thousand Spanish political ads lined up to air in Las Vegas.
Democrats have dominated the Spanish language ads for the last year, but TV management says for this home stretch, Republicans have outspent their rivals.
In Las Vegas, I’m Veronica Zaragovia.