Five Myths About Latino Voters
At their recent national conventions, the Democratic and Republican parties featured high-profile Latino speakers: San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinezand Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, among others. This effort reflected the growing influence of Hispanic politicians, as well as the parties’ need to appeal to Hispanic voters. But what motivates those Voters? There are countless misunderstandings about Latinos, their allegiances and their interests.
1. Latinos do not vote.
They do vote — and in increasing numbers. According to the Census Bureau’s most recent Current Population Survey Report, the number of Latino voters grew from less than 4 million in 1988 to 9.7 million in 2008. In 2012, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials expects at least 12.2 million Latinos to cast their votes, an increase of 26 percent over 2008. As a share of the total national electorate, Latinos have grown from 3.6 percent in 1988 to 7.4 percent in 2008, and they could be 9 percent of the voters in November.
Although only 55 percent of eligible Hispanic Americans are registered to vote, about 70 percent of those registered consistently turn out. Their impact is obvious in states such as California, which Latinos help make solidly Democratic, and Florida, without which no Republican can win the White House. And this November, the Latino vote will be pivotal in several battleground states such as Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and Virginia.