More Powerful Than Ever
By Jorge Saavedra
As the number of Latinos in the United States continues to grow, Presidential campaigns are paying more attention to Latino voters than ever before. And with good reason: Latino voters are the youngest and fastest growing group of voters in the United States.
The growing population of new and young Latino voters is the target of intense interest by political candidates because Latino voters can determine who wins and loses in future elections. Consider that about 11 million Latinos voted in the 2012 presidential election, and that President Obama defeated his challenger Mitt Romney by less than 5 million votes.
By the numbers, Democrats have the most to gain from the growing numbers of Latino voters. In the 2012 presidential election, 71% of Latinos voted for President Barack Obama and 27% voted for the Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Since the 2012 elections, the number of Latino voters grew from 23.2 million to 27.3 million, an increase of 4.1 million voters. This is a growth rate of 17% compared to a growth rate of only 2% for white voters and 6% for black voters. The number of Latino voters is projected to double to more than 40 million in the next 15 years. Each year nearly one million Latinos become eligible to vote automatically when they turn 18. Of the 27.3 million Latinos eligible to vote in 2016, almost half are between the ages of 18 and 33.
As the voting power of young Latinos grows, Latinos can leverage their political power and influence the policy issues that are priorities for elected officials. More importantly, Latino voters can hold elected officials accountable if they don’t deliver results for the Latino community.
Latinos have a stake in a wide range of issues. The economy is the leading issue for Latino voters. When asked to name the issue most important to them, 49% of Latino voters cited the economy as the most important. 24% cited health care and 16% named immigration as the most important issues facing the nation.
Jorge Saavedra F. is an attorney at Recursos Legales de Minnesota. For help with Immigration, Criminal Law, Family Law and Bankruptcy matters, call 763-545-9790. Recursos Legales de Minnesota, 2909 Bryant Ave. S., Suite 301, Minneapolis.
Information for this article was compiled from the Pew Research Center, The US Census, and the Federal Elections Commission