Latino voters: Major players in 2012 election
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Latino voters: Major players in 2012 election

Denver : CO : USA | Nov 07, 2012 at 3:24 PM PST
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Hispanic voters form a crucial voting block

A spotlight shines on the role of the Latino vote in the wake of yesterday’s presidential election. Latinos chose President Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney, 71 percent to 27 percent, according to analysis of exit polls by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.

The Latino vote played a significant role, and it’s a factor that’s slated to increase in strength.

Obama's national vote share among Hispanic voters was the highest seen by a Democratic candidate since 1996, when President Bill Clinton won 72 percent of the Hispanic vote. It was not, however, a “record high,” as some pundits predicted. That record belongs to President Jimmy Carter, who garnered 76 percent of the Hispanic vote in 1976.

Hispanics also made up a growing share of voters in three of the key battleground states in the election: Florida, Colorado and Nevada.

  • Hispanics in Florida made up 17 percent of the electorate, up from 14 percent in 2008. Obama carried Florida's Hispanic vote 60 percent to 39 percent.
  • In Colorado, Hispanics made up 14 percent of voters, up from 13 percent in 2008. Obama carried the Hispanic vote there 75 percent to 23 percent.
  • Among voters in Nevada, the Hispanic share was 18 percent, up from 15 percent in 2008. Obama won Nevada's Hispanic vote 70 percent to 25 percent.

Obama's Hispanic vote was up from 2008 in Florida and Colorado but down in Nevada.

Among Latino voters, support for Obama was strong across all major demographic subgroups. However, Latinos manifested the same gender gap that characterized the general population. Obama carried Hispanic women with 76 percent of the vote and Hispanic males with 65 percent.

US demographics are changing. By 2050 the minority groups that carried President Obama to victory yesterday are on track to become a majority of the nation's population. The Hispanic share of the US population could be as high as 29 percent, up from 17 percent now.

It is a powerful, emerging electorate.

This year 22 million Latinos were of voting age, eligible to register. However, fewer than 11 million were actually registered 18 months ago, according to a communication from Juan Andradi, Jr. of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute.

A new commentary released today by the Pew Social & Demographics Trends project, focuses on the new demographics: "A Milestone En Route to a Majority Minority Nation."

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Image credit: barackobama.com (used with permission).
Billie Greenwood is based in Davenport, Iowa, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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