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Posts Tagged ‘Latino Vote’

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.

NPR’s Latino USA Wants YOU for Our Politics Show

In a few weeks, NPR’s Latino USA will produce its first politics show of the 2016 election cycle. Our focus will be on the U.S. Latino vote, and we are asking our listeners to help. Producer Fernanda Echávarri explains in this video:

Send your voices memos to We want to hear from you!

Featured image: David McNew / Getty

Three Takeaways About Florida Latino Voters

Last Friday, the Pew Research Center released its latest findings about Florida’s Latino voters. The headline read, “Democratic edge in Hispanic voter registration grows in Florida,” and although that conclusion was not surprising (President Obama won Florida both in 2008 and 2012), I spent a bit more time examining Pew’s latest numbers and also discussing the data with Mark Hugo Lopez, Pew’s director of Hispanic research. Here are three takeaways about the Latino vote in Florida from the Pew information that I think are important to discuss:

Latinos with no party affiliation outpace Latinos who are registered Republicans. Most people who follow politics might not know this, but it is worth repeating: according to a 2012 Gallup poll, 51% of U.S. Latino voters identify themselves as political independents. However, Gallup noted, “once [Latino voters’] partisan leanings are taken into account, most Hispanics affiliate with the Democratic Party (52%) rather than the Republican Party (23%).”

Interestingly enough, a similar pattern has evolved in Florida when it comes to U.S. Latino voters. Here is what Pew said about the period between 2006 and 2014: “…the number of Hispanic registered voters increased by 56%, while the number of Hispanics identifying as Democrats or having no party affiliation each increased by about 80%.” It also added this graphic to emphasize the point:


Another way to look at it is via pure raw numbers: If there were 313,000 Florida Latinos who registered with no party affiliation in 2006, that number almost doubled (575,000) in eight years. That’s a net number increase of 262,000. Conversely, there were 414,000 Florida Latinos who registered as Republican in 2006. In 2014, that number is at 471,000: an increase of just 57,000. Why the sudden increase? How “independent” are these voters: are they Democrats in disguise or are they Republicans in hiding?

“Perhaps this information about the rise of voters who have registered with no party affiliation presents an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to actively reach out to these voters, especially in a close presidential election in Florida,” Lopez said.

And you wonder why Florida is a swing state.

Another point Lopez made about this rise of non-affiliated voters might have to do with young voters in Florida who haven’t chosen a party yet. Nonetheless, Lopez reiterated that these latest numbers can signal to both Democrats and Republicans that there are plenty of Latino votes up for grabs in the Sunshine State.

Miami might be more “independent” than you think. Pew also focused on three big counties in the state: Orange, Broward and Miami-Dade. As Pew stated: “…In Miami-Dade County –home to 46% of the nation’s Cuban-American population– Republicans still outnumber Democrats among Hispanic registered voters. In 2014, there were 265,000 Republicans and 218,000 Democrats.” Furthermore (based on the graphs below, see Miami-Dade on the right), is that the number of Latino voters in Miami-Dade who claim “no party affiliation” is greater than those who registered as Democrats:

Puerto Ricans moving to Florida are tipping the scales. It’s no secret: Puerto Ricans are leaving the island in record numbers (see reasons here) and moving to the mainland. Not surprisingly, Florida has become a top destination. It is estimated that about 300,000 Puerto Ricans live in Central Florida, while the overall population of Puerto Ricans in Florida is now at about 900,000 boricuas and growing. In this latest report, Pew noted the following: “In 2013, Cubans made up a smaller share (31%) of Hispanic eligible voters –adult U.S. citizens– in Florida than they did in 1990 (46%). Meanwhile, over the same period, Puerto Ricans made up a larger share of the state’s Hispanic eligible voters, rising from 25% to 29%.”


Another tidbit from Pew about this takeaway: “The share of Hispanic eligible voters of other ancestry (such as Mexico and South America) has also increased, from 29% then to 40% today.”

“This other group is everyone from Mexicans to South Americans who have become U.S. citizens,” Lopez said. “It is a very diverse of other groups, but by far Cubans and Puerto Ricans are the largest groups of Hispanic voters in Florida, and they are the ones driving the most Hispanic voter registration and outcomes.”

Pundits who continue to focus the conservative side of Miami as being the only source of political influence in the state when it comes to national presidential politics, might need to start looking past that. In fact, Pew noted, “Cuban Americans and their politics are also changing. This group increasingly leans toward the Democratic Party as more are born in the U.S. In addition, due to an influx of Cuban immigrants since 1990, a sizable majority of Cuban Americans today say they have at least some common values with people living in Cuba.”

“Miami-Dade is a Hispanic-rich district, the largest in the state,” Lopez said. “But even in Miami-Dade, we are seeing political partisanship in registered voters changing. Democrats have made inroads in registrations and there has been very little growth for Republicans in the same period of time.”

Let me know what you think of these takeaways or what Pew said in the full report. You can tweet me @julito77.


Maria Hinojosa: ‘The Latino Vote Can Be Energized’

This morning on Up with Steve Kornacki, Maria Hinojosa discussed the 2016 presidential race with the panel. Besides saying that the next election could be a defining moment for U.S. Latino voters (“The Latino vote can be energized”), Maria discussed Jeb Bush’s candidacy as well as pointing out an issue few are discussing in the political media: Hillary Clinton’s current strategy with the U.S. Latino electorate and whether the current Democratic front-runner has had a “watershed moment” with a group estimated to be about 8% of the nation’s voters. Here is the full clip (about seven minutes long):

What do you think of what Maria had to say? Tweet me @julito77 with your thoughts.


The influence of the Latino vote grabbed the headlines in this past election, and has brought comprehensive back into the political agenda. But how can Latinos take advantage of this political opening, and what other issues will they try to influence next? Host Maria Hinojosa speaks with Maria Teresa Kumar of Voto Latino and Jennifer Korn of Hispanic Leadership Network.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Jennifer S. Korn is Executive Director of the Hispanic Leadership Network. Ms. Korn has 18 years of experience as a conservative strategist. Previously, Ms. Korn served in the George W. Bush Administration as Director of Hispanic and Women’s Affairs in the White House, as well as Senior Advisor to the Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Prior to her public service, Ms. Korn was National Hispanic Director and Southwest Coalitions Director on President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign. As such, she developed and supervised the implementation of the strategy that resulted in President Bush receiving 44% of the Hispanic vote. Ms. Korn was born in East Los Angeles and is the first in her family to attend college. She is a military spouse.


Maria Teresa Kumar is the President/CEO of Voto Latino. Her strong record of accomplishment has earned her high profile recognitions, including being named as one of the 20 most notable Latinos under 40 by PODER Magazine, and numerous leadership awards including an Emmy nomination, the White House Project, Imagen Foundation and the New York legislature.

In addition to being a frequent commentator on MSNBC, Maria Teresa serves as an occasional blogger for national outlets. Maria Teresa started her career as a legislative aide. She received her Master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor’s in international relations from the University of California at Davis.


If results from the presidential election are true, Latino voters were key in tipping the balance that gave Obama four more years to usher in all the change he promised. For more in depth results on how the Latino vote influenced this past election, we speak to Matt Barretto, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington and co-founder of political research firm Latino Decisions.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Matt A. Barreto is an Associate Professor in political science at the University of Washington, Seattle and the director of the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (WISER). He is also the director of the annual Washington Poll. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Irvine in 2005. His research examines the political participation of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States and his work has been published in the American Political Science Review, Political Research Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, Public Opinion Quarterly, and other peer reviewed journals.


As the elections wrap up, we have briefings from key areas around the country where the Latino vote had a key impact on the election – and also reflects America’s changing demographics.

Click here to download this week’s show. Image courtesy of Colorlines (creative commons).

Ashley Lopez is a reporter for WLRN-Miami Herald News. She also splits her time as a reporter/blogger for the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and as a local print reporter for The Miami Herald. Previously, Lopez was a reporter/blogger for The Florida Independent — a nonprofit news blog that covered Florida politics and public policy. A native Miamian, Lopez graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree. She also interned for Talking Points Memo and an NPR affiliate in Durham, North Carolina.

Robbie Harris is WVTF/RADIO IQ‘s New River Valley Bureau Chief. Based in Blacksburg, Robbie covers the New River Valley and southwestern Virginia. She is a former news director of WBEZ/ Chicago Public Radio and WHYY in Philadelphia, where she led award-winning news teams and creative projects. She has also worked in public and commercial television, as well as print journalism.

News Director Peter O’Dowd leads a newsroom that includes reporters in seven Southwestern bureaus. His work has aired on The BBC, NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, and American Public Media’s Marketplace. He’s covered technology, the housing bubble and the constant flap over immigration policy that keeps Arizona in the national spotlight. Peter began his radio career at Wyoming Public Radio. He has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and he’s taught English in Tokyo, Japan.


The Latino vote has been a big topic in this election cycle. So what was the proof in the pudding and in the polls? We get an overview of Latino turnout, the effects of voter ID laws and early voting, and other factors that influenced the Latino role in the presidential, congressional races and ballot initiatives of 2012.

Click here to download this week’s show. Photo courtesy of Flickr

Patricia Guadalupe is Supervising Producer and Fill-in Host for AARP Viva Radio, a daily, Spanish-language radio show that discusses a variety of issues of importance to the Latino community and broadcast on Sirius XM. She is a contributing editor to Latino Magazine and Hispanic Link News Service and is a former Washington correspondent for CBS Radio, Radio Bilingue and Latino USA. Raised in Puerto Rico, she is a graduate of Michigan State University and of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University.


Myrna Perez is a senior counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a legal research and advocacy organization at New York University. She also works on a variety of voting rights related issues, including redistricting, voter registration list maintenance, and access to the ballot box. Before joining the center, Ms. Pérez was the Civil Rights Fellow at Relman & Dane, a civil rights law firm in Washington, D.C.


The presidential race took the spotlight on Election Day, but from congressional and senatorial races to a historical referendum in Puerto Rico, there was more at stake for Latino voters. We speak to Victor Landa, founder and editor of News Taco, for a round up of other election results important to Latinos.

Click here to download this week’s show.

Victor Landa is the founder and editor of NewsTaco, a website that provides news, analysis and critique from a Latino perspective. He worked as a writer and editor for 30 years, mostly with Telemundo and Univisión. Landa also contributed to the San Antonio Express-News, and he is an adviser on media strategy, message crafting, storytelling and public speaking.


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