US & Canada

US election: Power of the Latino vote

As the fight for the White House goes to the wire, find out how the Latino vote could hold the key to the election. Scroll down to discover the facts about the rising power of the Latino vote.

US population distribution

16.3% Latinos *Source: 2010 US Census Bureau

The USA is home to the highest Latino population in the world after Mexico

50,500,000 Latinos = Largest minority in the USA

"Every time an election is fought, there is an increased focus on minority groups and, in the case of Hispanics, their importance has become more apparent since they passed a significant demographic milestone - 50 million people."

Justin Gross, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Of 50,500,000 Latinos, there are 21,300,000 Total eligible Latino voters

13,000,000 registered Latino voters

8,300,000 eligible but unregistered Latino voters

Between 2000 and 2010, the Latino population increased by 43%, four times the growth of the overall population.*

Every month 50,000 young Latinos turn 18. Since the last presidential election in 2008, there are

2,400,000 newly eligible 1st-time voters

"Every year there is a bigger proportion of whites leaving the electoral pool (because they die or get older) and younger voters from minority groups coming in. If the white population is ageing and the minority groups' numbers are always increasing, relying on the youth vote is key to victory."

Matt Barreto, associate professor in political science at University of Washington and founder of Latino Decisions
*Source: US Census Bureau

More than 75% of Latinos live in just 10 states

Latino voters estimated as a percentage of the electorate (in Latino-heavy states)

  1. New Mexico

    35% 55.9%
  2. California

    26.3% 36.2%
  3. Texas

    21.3% 40.9%
  4. Florida

    18.3% 20.5%
  5. Nevada

    14% 16.8%
  6. Arizona

    12% 25.6%
  7. New York

    10.8% 19.9%
  8. New Jersey

    10.4% 17.1%
  9. Colorado

    8.7% 16.9%
  10. Illinois

    7.6% 13.1%

2012 statistics:

Registered Latinos as percentage of electorate
All eligible Latinos as a percentage of the electorate
Sources: NALEO / PEW Hispanic Centre / US Census Bureau

How the Latinos voted in the 2008 US presidential elections

  • New Mexico

    69% 30%
  • California

    74% 23%
  • Texas

    63% 35%
  • Florida

    57% 42%
  • Nevada

    78% 20%
  • Arizona

    56% 41%
  • New York

    86% 12%
  • New Jersey

    78% 21%
  • Colorado

    61% 38%
  • Illinois

    72% 27%

National Latino votes

67%
31%
Votes for Obama
Votes for McCain
Battleground states
Sources: PEW Hispanic Centre / NDN / NYLARNet

Current national polls around presidential elections *BBC Poll of Polls 30/10/2012

  1. 49% Obama
  2. 49% Romney

" When the white vote is very divided, other ethnic groups become key to deciding the outcome. This election will probably be defined by who secures a few votes in the middle - the votes of those people who have still not decided who to vote for."

Belinda Reyes, professor of Latin Studies at San Francisco State University (SFSU).

"I am convinced that the Republican Party is the rightful home of Hispanic Americans."

Romney addressing the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles 17/09/2012. Source: Reuters

"If we win Colorado, we will win this election."

Barack Obama addressing students at the University of Colorado 28/08/2012. Source: USA Today

Production: BBC Mundo, Nour Saab, Steven Connor,

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