Pew: 12 Million Latino Millennials Will Be Eligible to Vote in 2016

A comprehensive data report released today by Pew Research about the changing face of the U.S. Latino electorate concluded that Latino millennials will be 12 million or 44% of the country’s 27.3 million eligible Latino voters, “a share greater than any other racial or ethnic group of voters,” according to Pew’s findings.


The Pew report also reported the following:

The median age among the nation’s 35 million U.S.-born Latinos is only 19 (Stepler and Brown, 2015), and Latino youth will be the main driver of growth among Latino eligible voters over the next two decades. Between 2012 and 2016, about 3.2 million young U.S.-citizen Latinos will have advanced to adulthood and become eligible to vote, according to Pew Research Center projections. Nearly all of them are U.S. born—on an annual basis, some 803,000 U.S.-born Latinos reached adulthood in recent years.

Last November, as part of its ongoing series on the Latino vote for the 2016 election cycle, Latino USA explored some of the reasons why Latino millennial voters are being viewed by political parties as an important voting bloc.

Pew also made these top-line observations:

Latinos who became naturalized citizens are the ‘second-largest’ source of Latino voters in 2016. According to Pew, “between 2012 and 2016 some 1.2 million will have [become U.S. citizens].”

Outmigration from Puerto Rico will also play a role in 2016 election. As Pew states, “Since 2012, some 130,000 more Puerto Ricans have left the island than moved there. Florida has been the biggest recipient of these Puerto Rican adult migrants—all of whom are U.S. citizens and eligible to vote in U.S. elections.”

Nonetheless, Pew was quick to shed caution on whether these new findings will result in a large 2016 turnout at the polls for U.S. Latinos:

With this rapid growth, the Latino electorate is projected to make up a record 11.9% of all U.S. eligible voters in 2016 and will pull nearly even with blacks, who will make up 12.4%. As a result, the Latino vote may be poised to have a large impact on the 2016 presidential election. Yet, for many reasons, Latino voters are likely to once again be underrepresented among voters in 2016 compared with their share of eligible voters or their share of the national population.

Pew listed three reasons as to why there might not be a large turnout in 2016 for U.S. Latinos:

Reason 1: Latino turnout rates have been historically low.

In 2012, fewer than half (48%) of Hispanic eligible voters cast a ballot (Lopez and Gonzalez-Barrera, 2013). By comparison, 64.1% of whites and 66.6% of blacks voted. (Asians, at 46.9%, had a turnout rate similar to that of Hispanics.)

However, Pew also emphasized this point:

In 2012, a record 11.2 million Hispanics voted (Lopez and Gonzalez-Barrera, 2013), up from what was a record 9.7 million in 2008 (Lopez and Taylor, 2009). It is possible that a record number of Hispanics could vote in 2016, continuing a pattern of record turnout in presidential elections.

Reason 2: Latino millennials don’t vote.

In 2012, just 37.8% of Latino millennials voted, compared with 53.9% among non-millennial Latinos. The voter turnout rate among Latino millennials also trails that of other millennial groups. Some 47.5% of white millennials and 55% of black millennials voted in 2012. Among Asians, 37.3% of millennials voted.


Reason 3: Latino voters are not in key battleground states.

…the Latino-rich states of California, Texas and New York are not likely to be presidential tossup states. Together, these three account for 52% of all Latino eligible voters in 2016.

Yet, Florida, Nevada and Colorado are likely to once again be battleground states in the race for president. In each of the three, Hispanics make up more than 14% of eligible voters. But in just about every other state expected to have close presidential races, Hispanics make up less than 5% of all eligible voters.


You can access the entire report here, as well as Pew’s detailed 2016 State Election Fact Sheets.

Featured image: (JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Poll: Having Latino VP Candidate Doesn’t Matter

While the majority of the political press is focusing today on a new MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist poll that says Republican candidate Donald Trump is hurting the GOP brand with U.S. Latino voters and that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is leading her Republican rivals in head-to-head matchups, few are looking at other findings, including one which states that being a vice presidential candidate of Latino descent might not help his or her running mate.

Here is what poll question 13 states:

Are you more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate for president who chooses a vice president who is of Latino or Hispanic background? If it would make no difference in your vote either way, please say so.

According to the poll, 8% of all registered voters say they are “more likely.” Even when the results are limited to Latino registered voters, the “more likely” answer is only 23%. 88% of all registered voters said it would make “no difference to vote.” For Latino voters, that “no difference to vote” number is at 77%.

The poll states that the margin of error for registered voters is at +/-2%. The margin of error for registered Latino voters is at +/-6%.

Another poll question refers to President Obama’s executive action on immigration. This is what question 12 asks:

Are you more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate for president who supports the rollback of President Obama’s executive actions regarding immigration? If it would make no difference in your vote either way, please say so.

36% registered voters said that they would be “more likely” to support the rollback. When it comes to registered Latino voters, the rollback support is only two percentage points behind at 34%.

The margin of error listed for poll question 13 is the same for question 12.

Finally, even though Clinton’s numbers with Latinos are positive when compared to candidates such as Trump, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio (only Rubio nears the elusive 40% mark), it is important to note that when compared to a similar head-to-head question in September, all the GOP candidates saw an increase in support with Latino voters in the December poll. (Carson’s name was not included in September.)

For example, in the September poll, Trump lost 69%-22% to Clinton. In today’s poll, Trump is at 27% and Clinton remains at 69%. In September, Cruz was at 29% to Clinton’s 62%. Today Cruz is at 34% and Clinton is at 61%. When it comes to Rubio, the Florida senator trailed Clinton 61%-31% in September. It is now 57% for Clinton and 38% for Rubio.  Even Jeb Bush sees a 5% increase with Latino voters in a head-to-head with Clinton from September to December, even though Bush is polling low in other national polls.

In fact, Clinton’s head-to-head numbers with GOP candidates all decrease with registered Latino voters, except for Bush, where Clinton goes from 60% to 61%. And when the poll asked the following —“Do you agree or disagree with the statement: We’ve had enough Bushes and Clintons running for the White House and it’s time to give someone else a chance?”— 56% of registered Latino voters did agree. In addition, Clinton saw her negatives in the poll go from 13% to 20% with Latinos.

You can read the entire poll results below.

MSNBC Telemundo Marist Poll: December 2015 by Latino USA

Idaho Town Just Elected All-Latino City Council

When the ballots were counted in the Nov. 3 elections, few took note of a modest victory for Latinos in the town of Wilder, Idaho. The small, heavily immigrant farming community near the Oregon border elected its first entirely Hispanic city council.

As national political groups and aspiring presidential candidates boost their efforts to cultivate America’s growing Latino vote, the Latino sweep of top elected positions in the 1,500-resident town of Wilder symbolizes smaller, but perhaps more fundamental changes as the Hispanic population reshapes U.S. demographics.

Prior to the 2015 fall election, two of the four city council members were Hispanic. Outgoing mayor John Bechtel, who has served several terms as mayor and as a city councilman since 1974, declined to seek re-election. Alicia Almazan, who the Idaho Press says will become the town’s first woman mayor, didn’t return calls requesting comment.

Read more at Huffington Post Latino Voices

Featured image: George Obendorf Gothic Arch Truss Barn near Wilder, Idaho (Ian Poellet)

Not All Latinos Vote the Same

Rose and Ana Canino are bothered when politicians and some in the media try to address Latinos as if they were all the same.

“When people say that the Latino Vote is monolithic, or it’s one issue, it erases the idea that we all come from different nations and different countries of origins and that we have different issues,” said Ana Canino-Fluit.

Members of the Canino-Vazquez family are Puerto Rican and all over the political spectrum.

Ana, 39, is middle of road leaning Democrat living in New York, Rose is a self-described progressive with radical liberal ideas studying evolutionary biology in Michigan, and Juan the youngest sibling is a conservative police officer in Florida who has “joked around that he’s going to vote for [Donald] Trump.”

Their parents: also on opposite sides of the political spectrum.

The Canino-Vazquez family is an example of how diverse Latinos are when it comes to politics.

Knowing they disagree on issues such as gun control, reproductive rights and the Black Lives Matters movement doesn’t stop them from having deep discussions about their differences.

“We have these disagreements but it doesn’t affect our day-to-day interactions with each other,” Ana said. “We may stay up until three in the morning arguing but the next morning we have breakfast and it’s all good.”

Featured image: Ana Canino-Fluit (l) at home with her youngest sister Rosangela Canino-Koning.

The Past, Present and Future of the Latino Vote

About 26 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the United States and politicians are going after those votes by targeting the “Latino Vote,” a term that used constantly these days.

But where did the term “Latino Vote” come from? And who was the first presidential candidate to court Latino voters?

Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa and Julio Ricardo Varela talk with Cristina Mora about the past, present and future of the Latino Vote.

Part of the conversation focused on Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign in 1972.

The Nixon campaign strategically courted Latino voters for what was called “the Spanish-speaking vote”, said Mora, a professor of sociology at UC Berkeley.

“What they did is they coordinated these Amigos Buses is what they called them,” Mora said. “They would go around Latino neighborhoods across the United States to try to capture the Latino vote.”

The buses that traveled along the eastern United States in Puerto Rican and Cuban neighborhoods played salsa music, “and those that went to Texas and California played mariachi, so they almost had this nuance understanding of who the voter was and this is really the first time [this happened] you didn’t see the Democratic National Party doing this,” Mora said.

Back then there were fewer than four million Latinos eligible to work. By Election Day 2016 experts estimate there will be 27 million Latino voters, and that number could grow even more.

There are five million Hispanic adults who are in the country legally, on the path to citizenship but who have not become naturalized citizens, said Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research at Pew Research Center.

“There’s a lot of efforts to get this particular group to citizenship,” he said.

Many of those legal permanent residents have been in the U.S. for more than a decade but haven’t taken that step to become citizens, Lopez said, and if they do they could “have an impact on Latino voter participation in the upcoming election.”

Featured image: David McNew/Getty Images

#1545 – What Is the Latino Vote?

Yes, we know, we’re still a year away from Election Day but just a few months from the primaries, and everywhere you look there are endless stories about the candidates. Many politicians and pundits seem to think the Latino Vote is monolithic. At Latino USA, we know that’s not true, and we meet a family that exemplifies the political diversity of Latino voters. But what happens with Latinos who don’t vote or run for office? We go to a town that is majority-Latino, where representation matters. We look at Latino voters, Latino millennials and how they vote. Plus, a little Hispandering fun.

The Latino electorate has been growing and is expected to continue to grow. That’s something we will keep coming back to as we cover politics leading up to the presidential election. Examining the dramatic demographic shift in the U.S. through data and trends is at the core of another project we produce called AMERICA BY THE NUMBERS, which began as a series on PBS. To kick off our 2016 election coverage Latino USA and ABTN wanted to answer the question of just what is the “Latino Vote” anyway.

The Latino Vote: An Infographic from Latino USA

For my final post in anticipation of Friday’s Latino USA show about the Latino vote in the United States (see all my previous stories here), I created the following infographic, based on data from Pew and Gallup. If you want to explore complete state-by-state breakdowns, visit this chart from Pew. (FYI: Click here for mobile version of the chart.)

Three Little-Known Facts About the US Latino Vote

In anticipation of Latino USA‘s upcoming show about the U.S. Latino vote (send us your voice memos), I plan to share daily historical examples of American politics and Latinos. My first post was about Jackie Kennedy campaigning in Spanish. The second post highlighted the country’s first Latino senator. The third post focused on U.S. Latino voters and the presidency. Last Friday, I focused on Hispandering. Today, I decided to share some numbers.

With the 2016 election beginning to kick into high gear, the attention on U.S. Latino voters continues. It is estimated that by 2016, the over-18 U.S. Latino population will be close to 40 million. It is also estimated that U.S. Latino voters in 2016 will account for about 13% of the country’s eligible voters. But how well do you know the U.S. Latino vote? These three statistical nuggets will impress your friends the next time you talk politics:

Since 2006, the Southeast has seen the fastest percentage of U.S. Latino growth than anywhere else in the country. However, this growth has not led to more voters.

Last year, Pew presented an excellent analysis on the state of the U.S. Latino vote. It stated, “Over the past decade, the Hispanic population has grown most quickly among states in the southeast (Brown and Lopez, 2012). However, much of the growth has come from people not eligible to vote: immigrants (many of whom are not U.S. citizens) and those under 18.”


Such findings coincide with another point Pew reported: the share of U.S. Latinos in the Big Three Latino states (California, Texas and Florida) continues to decrease.

MY TAKEAWAY: Sooner than later, “Latino outreach” will be more and more national, and less and less regional.

According to Gallup, 51% of U.S. Latinos are independents.

In 2012, Gallup produced a poll that I think will soon get updated, but it is one of the most important underreported findings out there. According to Gallup, “A majority of U.S. Hispanics identify as political independents (51%) rather than as Democrats (32%) or Republicans (11%).” Right after that sentence, Gallup wrote this, “However, once their partisan leanings are taken into account, most Hispanics affiliate with the Democratic Party (52%) rather than the Republican Party (23%).”


This year, Pew broke down party affiliations and concluded that the rise of independents continues to trend up among all Americans: “Based on 2014 data, 39% identify as independents, 32% as Democrats and 23% as Republicans. This is the highest percentage of independents in more than 75 years of public opinion polling.”

MY TAKEAWAY: Democrats would be wise to not take the U.S. Latino vote for granted, while Republicans should realize that not having debates on Spanish-language television is not a wise move.

U.S. Latinos are still the youngest group in the country, when compared to other groups.

This one comes from Pew: “In addition, the new Census Bureau estimates show that Hispanics, with a median age of 29 years, are younger than most other racial or ethnic groups. By comparison, the median age for non-Hispanic blacks is 34; it’s 43 for non-Hispanic whites and 36 for Asians. But Hispanics are growing older: In 2010, the group’s median age was 27, up from 26 in 2000.”

MY TAKEAWAY: The national party that can get young U.S. Latinos to vote now will be the party with a long-term future.

What would you add to the conversation? Tweet me @julito77 or add your comments at the bottom of this post.

Featured image: G. De Cardenas/Getty

The Top Five Hispandering Moments of 2015

In anticipation of Latino USA‘s upcoming show about the U.S. Latino vote (send us your voice memos), I plan to share daily historical examples of American politics and Latinos. My first post was all about Jackie Kennedy campaigning in Spanish. The second post highlighted the country’s first Latino senator. The third post focused on U.S. Latino voters and the presidency. Today’s post will focus on the very real example of Hispandering.

What is Hispandering? Urban Dictionary defines the term as “to Hispander means to pander to Hispanics.”

Who used it first? In 2002, political blogger Mickey Kaus coined the term when he was at Slate. In the last few years, several Latino political writers (including myself) have been using it whenever we see examples of politicians (or brands) reaching out to U.S. Latinos in ways that well, feel a bit staged, uncomfortable and not authentic at all. This year’s political cycle has already seen several examples of Hispandering moments. Here are my top five examples:

“I am tu Hillary.”

From The Guardian:

At Thursday’s Latinos for Hillary organizing event, Clinton walked on stage to Jennifer Lopez’s Let’s Get Loud, and stood at a podium adorned with a campaign sign that read “Estoy Contigo”.

“I gotta tell you, I love being La Hillary – I promise I will keep working on my pronunciation – but I’m not just La Hillary. I’m tu Hillary,” Clinton told the boisterous crowd.

The “tu Hillary” comment came after the Democratic candidate entered the rally while a Selena song blared.

Donald Trump’s Colombian Moment in Las Vegas
When your popularity with U.S. Latinos is at 11%, any little bit helps.

Barack Obama’s Cinco de Mayo Speech: Tequila and Immigration

Here’s hoping one day elected officials stop forcing the immigration issue during a cultural celebration.

Jeb Bush’s Cinco de Mayo Ad

Not to be outdone by President Obama, Jeb Bush also had to release a Spanish-language ad on Cinco de Mayo.

Ted Cruz Para Presidente
Considering that Cruz once said Spanish speakers live in a “language ghetto,” his campaign’s 2016 ad in Spanish earns the final slot on the Hispandering list.

Which ones did I miss? Tweet me at @julito77.

The Latino Vote in Presidential Races: 1980–2012

In anticipation of Latino USA‘s upcoming show about the U.S. Latino vote (send us your voice memos), I plan to share daily historical examples of American politics and Latinos. My first post was all about Jackie Kennedy campaigning in Spanish. The second post highlighted the country’s first Latino senator. This is my third post.

For all those who follow and dissect presidential elections and numbers, Pew Hispanic’s Latino Voters in the 2012 Election (Obama 71% Romney 27%) is required reading. Whenever people ask me if the U.S. Latino vote even matters in presidential elections (yes, they are still people who ask this question in 2015 and yes, they are current candidates who don’t think it matters), I always turn the Pew’s first chart on page 4 of the report. It shows the breakdown of the U.S. Latino vote from 1980–2012. While every Democratic candidate has won the majority of the U.S. Latino vote since 1980, when Republican candidates can get 30% or more of that vote to neutralize the Democratic margin, the GOP can pretty much secure the White House. The only outlier to that rule was John McCain’s 31% take in 2008, when he still lost to Barack Obama and the “Sí se puede” narrative (a whole different post).


The GOP has been trending down ever since George W. Bush’s 2004 Latino vote percentage peaked at 40%, which came just two cycles after Bob Dole’s 1992 performance bottomed out at 21%, the worst showing with U.S. Latino voters from any presidential candidate since 1980. Ironically, Bill Clinton’s 1996 72% win (higher than Obama’s 2012 numbers) came at a time when Clinton painted himself as more of a border hawk than Dole.

If Republicans can get 30%-35% of the U.S. Latino vote in 2016, history would show that their chances to take back the White House are strong. So where do the current crop of GOP candidates stand with U.S. Latino voters? A recent NBC/Telemundo poll presented at the end of September tried to address part of the issue. The poll asked the following question: And, if the election for president were held today, and (ROTATE) [GOP CANDIDATE NAME] were the Republican candidate and Hillary Clinton were the Democratic candidate, for whom would you vote?

Jeb Bush 32% Hillary Clinton 60%

Donald Trump 17% Hillary Clinton 72%

Ben Carson 28% Hillary Clinton 63%

Carly Fiorina 24% Hillary Clinton 68%

The poll also presented a scenario between Trump and Bernie Sanders:

Donald Trump 17% Bernie Sanders 71%

Surprisingly, the poll did not include Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz —two Cuban American candidates— as options. A new AP-GfK poll from this week reported that Rubio is viewed favorably by 23% of U.S. Latino voters, as opposed to Trump, who has an 11% favorability rating. Cruz is not even part of the mix.

If Bush were to remain in the race (last night’s debate performance in Colorado didn’t help him), he is still viewed as the most favorable with U.S. Latinos, but with Rubio being seen by many as the candidate who won the Colorado debate, will the Cuban American candidate find more appeal with Bush’s U.S. Latino base? That is a question to follow.

Another question is whether the 30%–35% guidepost will be enough for Republicans. A polling group whose key members are now working for the Hillary Clinton campaign will tell you that 42% is the new threshold for the GOP. That number might be too high (unless the “Trump effect” results in higher Latino turnout), but it is safe to conclude that if the GOP does not improve on Romney’s 27% 2012 numbers and starts heading towards 1996 Bob Dole numbers, the Democrats will win another four years in the White House.