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CAP Panel Discusses “The Rising American Electorate”: Latinos, Asians and Youth

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A panel featuring pollster Ruy Teixeira and Obama for America organizer Jeremy Bird at the Center for American Progress today underscored the impact of the minority vote in last month’s election, and highlighted just how instrumental record numbers of minority voters were to President Obama’s reelection effort.

As Ruy Teixeira said in a PowerPoint presentation that began the event, Republicans seriously underestimated what the minority vote turnout would be pre-election.  Some polls, like Gallup predicted that minorities would only account for 22% of the electorate, instead of the 28% they eventually were.  And since President Obama won 80% of the minority vote, he could have afforded to lose the white working class by 9 more points than he actually did (34 points, compared to 25) before he would’ve lost the election.  Among the voter blocs Teixeira highlighted were the Latino vote, the Asian vote, unmarried women, and young voters—basically, “the rising American electorate,” according to Teixeira.

As Clarissa Martinez de Castro, the Director of Immigration and National Campaigns for the National Council of La Raza, said about the high turnout of Latino voters: “Latino voters had the economy on their minds and immigration in their hearts.”  She pointed out that NCLR itself registered nearly 100,000 new Latino voters this election cycle, nearly half of them in the crucial election state of Florida.

Mee Moua, President and Executive Director of the Asian American Justice Center, was present to highlight the contributions of the Asian vote—often overlooked given its size, despite how influential it also has been.  “In battleground states, Asian voting grew 70-160 percent from last election cycle,” Moua said.  “In this election cycle, our community stood to be a political force.”

And Teixeira himself lifted up the significance of the youth vote: “It’s hard to overemphasize how important the millennials are,” he said.  “In election after election, they have surged for Democrats and put up huge margins in favor of more liberal policies.”