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Hispanic and Latino Demographic Influence on 2012 Election

February 27th, 2012 · 5 Comments

By Sofia Sanchez

Hispanics and Latinos are expected to play a decisive role in elections at all levels in 2012. They are a rapidly growing share of the electorate that could have a major influence on future elections as well. This has implications for both major political parties.

Although they comprise 16 percent of the U.S. population, just 43 percent of Hispanics and Latinos are eligible to vote because they have a higher proportion of non-citizens and those under 18-years-of-age. Pew demographic studies show that this is spread among many states and diminishes their impact on elections and the Electoral College. In some states, they would only comprise as little one or two percent of the electorate.

However, in states such as California and Nevada, the demographic effects of the Hispanic and Latino vote can impact the results dramatically. In these states, both political parties will be competing for their votes using the issues that are important to these voters.

Illegal immigration is high among those issues. According to Lincoln Park Strategists statistics, 61 percent of Hispanics and Latinos consider discrimination a major problem. They support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants as long as they pass a background check, pay a fine, and have jobs. Less than 20 percent support the strict immigration laws that were passed in Arizona and other states.

The Hispanic population in Florida is the third-largest in the nation with Latinos representing 13.1% of all votes for the state. As a younger population of voters they too will be concerned about discriminatory regulations and most importantly immigrations laws, as stated by various abogados en Orlando. Candidates will be paying closest attention to the dominant state of New Mexico, that accounting for the largest percentage of Hispanic voters at 39%.

Meanwhile, Hispanics and Latinos place high importance on living a religious life. They are more likely to oppose abortion and are less supportive of gay marriage. However, there are indications that  younger generations, those in the 16 to 25 age group, are more tolerant about these issues than the older generations. There appears to be a more liberal attitude than that of early generations of immigrants. There are implications for both political parties in the differences between these generations.

The impact of this younger generation was reflected in Arizona when curriculum that focused on Mexican-American history was determined by state legislators to be biased against the United States. The Tucson high school in which it was taught was forced to shut it down or lose millions of dollars in funding from the states. This attracted attention of Hispanics and Latinos from across the U.S., some of whom came to the city to join the movement by parents and students that resulted in protests at the school board and marches in the city. It is expected that this could create a larger than usual turnout of younger Hispanics and Latinos, especially in Arizona and the southwestern states, during the 2012 election.

The demographic reality may affect the way both political parties deal with policies that alienate this population and may influence a softening on such issues as that of hard-line, anti-immigration by some politicians. However, whatever demographic advantage Hispanic and Latinos may have, the impact some believe is possible will not occur unless a higher proportion of that population actually turns out and votes in 2012. A larger turnout than has occurred in the past could determine which party controls the presidency and both houses of Congress for the next four years.

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Tags: Abortion rights · Immigration · voting trends

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anna // Apr 18, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Why don’t you update this blog anymore? It’s an election year and all of the Mexican-American political blogs are suddenly gone. Go figure.

  • 2 webmaster // Apr 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Anna,

    I’m going to start updating this website again. It has been a busy last few months. Please check in again.

    Thanks.

  • 3 chicano channel // Apr 22, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    This is so true, we have influence and in the future we will have so much more influence. It will be interesting to see how they try to woo us.

  • 4 Juan Maldonado // May 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Great blog but I agree with Anna. This is the time of year you can really start to create a solid forum for discussion around Latino related issues. Time magazine recently published the now famous cover “Why Latino Voters Will Swing the 2012 Election”:

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2107497,00.html

    Latinos are finally in the spot light and have the opportunity to become enggaged in the topic of politics and this blog is a perfect platform for it. Hope to see more content in the coming weeks.

  • 5 Juan Maldonado // May 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Great write up but I agree with Anna. Latinos are going to decide the next president, and as a result, we need an engaging platform for related topics. I would love to see more content on this blog so we can begin to engage one another.

    Great stuff!

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