Newsletter June 2012 – The Latino Vote, the “Sleeping Giant:” Key to the 2012 Presidential Election?

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Quote of the Month

The Latino Vote, the “Sleeping Giant:” Key to the 2012 Presidential Election?

The “Sleeping Giant” – that is what the Latino vote is referred to. This is because millions of Latinos in the United States are eligible to vote but have not yet registered. Many experts believe that – if they chose to register and vote – the 2012 Presidential election would be determined by this population In fact, according to the Center for American Progress (CAP) the number of potential Latino voters is greater than the margin of victory in the 2008 presidential election in eight states.

The 10 states listed below are the ones with the greatest number of unregistered Latino voters:

Nevada – 181,850 unregistered Latino voters
Virginia – 200,900 unregistered Latino voters
New Mexico – 202,650 unregistered Latino voters
Georgia – 208,200 unregistered Latino voters
Colorado – 242,750 unregistered Latino voters
Arizona – 575,300 unregistered Latino voters
Florida – 1,348,400 unregistered Latino voters
New York – 1,487,600 unregistered Latino voters
Texas – 3,034,600 unregistered Latino voters
California – 4,496,500 unregistered Latino voters

To put things in perspective, California’s nearly 4.5 million potential Latino voters surpass by four times the one million voters that were the margin of victory in the 2008 presidential election, according to CAP.

There are an estimated 21.5 million Latino voters that are eligible to vote nationwide. CAP further adds, “Looking ahead, every month about 50,000 Latinos turn 18 and are eligible to vote and each year an average of 700,000 immigrants are naturalizing.”

And it is no wonder that both presidential candidates are well aware of this growing voting block. Since mid-April, the Obama campaign has spent $1.7 million on Spanish language ads in Florida, Nevada and Colorado. Mitt Romney has spent only $13,000 on Spanish-language media since he clinched his nomination, in part because of President Obama’s consistent lead with Latino voters. But even so, the Republican National Committee recently announced the hiring of Hispanic Outreach State Directors in Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and Virginia.

But despite the Latino population’s Democratic leaning, President Obama and the Democratic leaders should not take the group for granted. As Angela Kelley of CAP states, “The numbers don’t lie. If politicians either ignore or demonize immigrants, they can say ‘adios’ to ever getting a second look by these voters.”

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