The Power of the Latino Vote
With the Presidential Elections coming in less than a year, candidates have stepped up efforts to attract the various groups of voters all over the country. One of the groups that candidates have targeted significantly is the Latino or Hispanic voters. The attention and importance that has been given to the Latino Vote can be traced back to the fact that Hispanics are slowly becoming the largest minority population in the country.
With the large segment of the Hispanic population becoming eligible to vote in the upcoming presidential elections, candidates are viewing the Latino Vote as greatly influential in determining the results of the elections.
In the past presidential elections, Hispanic voting has been considerably less than other racial or ethnic groups in the country. Since the presidential elections in 1980, the percentage of reported voting of Hispanic voter has been less than 30%. (Jamieson et al, 2002) This is significantly less than the reported voting percentage of African American voters. In every presidential election since 1980, African-American reported voting was between 50 to 56 percent. Meanwhile, voters of Asian origin had almost the same percentage as the Hispanic voters. (Jamieson et al, 2002) These data are only significant when one considers the population of each of the said races. Latinos greatly outnumber Asians in the country. Therefore, the low turnout of Hispanic voters is more significant than that of Asian voters.
The importance of the Latino vote can be better understood from a demographic perspective. For the 2008 presidential elections, an estimated 12 million Latinos will be registered to vote. At the same time, there are 6.7 million unregistered voters. (LULAC, 2007) These votes can easily swing the results of the election. From this perspective alone, it is evident that the Latino vote is vital. Presidential candidates have acknowledged such fact. For this reason, there has been increased effort to court the Latino Vote.
Jamieson, A., Cheeseman Day, J. and Shin, H. (February 2002). “Table C. Reported Voting in Presidential Election Years by Region, Race, Hispanic Origin, Sex, and Age: November 1964 to 2000.” Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2000. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.
League of United Latin American Citizens. (1 Oct. 2007). Maximizing Latino Voting Power, Defeating Anti-Immigrant Efforts. Retrieved 27 November 2007 from: .