This week, the New York Times asked,
Big an Immigrant Vote?”
For all the attention that the presidential
candidates have lavished on potentially useful voter subgroups – Iowans,
Floridians, Christian conservatives, tax-averse plumbers – they have not done
the same for immigrant and Latino voters, a rapidly growing constituency whose
support could be decisive in various battlegrounds on Tuesday.
With its unprecedented size and
level of political engagement this cycle, the Immigrant Vote has grown into one
of the most important new blocs to monitor coming out of this historic election.
Since numbers are king today, here are a few whoppers to keep in mind as
the results roll in:
1.6 Million: The Latino vote is expected
to increase from 7.6 million in 2004 to 9.2 million this year – an increase of
In 2004, Latinos represented approximately 8% of the overall U.S.
electorate – a percentage that is expected to be higher in 2008.
- 44% or 21%:
Will John McCain’s level of Latino support be closer to the 44% received
by George W. Bush in 2004 (the high-water mark for Latino support of GOP)
or the 21% Latino support received by Bob Dole in 1996 (the GOP’s
- 32.4%, 11.4%, and 9.9%: Latinos make up 32.4% of registered voters in New
Mexico, 11.4% in Nevada and 9.9% in Colorado – key Southwestern
battleground states in which both presidential campaigns have targeted the
The number of states in which the size of the “New
Americans” voting bloc, defined as immigrant citizens and the
US-born children of immigrants, exceeds the 2004 victory margins in the
presidential race – Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa,
Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New
York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
The number of new citizen voters registered by the We Are America Alliance
in 13 states with large Latino and immigrant populations.
recent poll from the National Association of Latino Elected and
Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund found “tremendous
enthusiasm” among Latino voters in the key battleground states of CO,
FL, NV, and NM, as nearly 90% of Latino voters say they will vote in this
year’s presidential election.
- 93% and 82.8%:
The Pew Hispanic
Center recently found that 93% of Latino respondents in a nationwide
poll said that immigration was important to them personally. Similarly,
82.8% of Latino Evangelical respondents in
a new poll said that a candidate’s position on immigration was
important in determining their vote – a percentage on par in importance
with abortion, and more important than same-sex marriage, among this
conservative voting bloc (60% of whom supported Bush in 2004).
No matter what stories are woven out of this
historic election tomorrow, it’s hard to ignore numbers like these.
So what’s driving these new voters? The same New York Times editorial put it well:
efforts by groups like the We Are America Alliance, a coalition of community
and immigrant-rights organizations that emerged from the 2005 marches, have now
had three years to ripen. And advocates see a hunger for civic engagement in
immigrant communities, where the chill of xenophobia and the ongoing scandal of
immigration raids and detention deaths remain urgent concerns, even if the rest
of the country is paying little attention.