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What happened on Nov. 4th?

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Originally posted at NDN:

We’ve been talking about the ‘sleeping giant’ for some time… Straight from the experts at NDN, here’s a “Preliminary Analysis of the Latino Vote, 2008”:

Hispanics Participation Rates Continue to Increase – Despite an historically high turnout, the Hispanic share of the national vote increased from 8% in 2004 to 9% in 2008. In three of the battleground states with significant Latino populations, the share of the electorate that was Hispanic more than doubled in Colorado, increased 60% in Nevada, and increased almost 30 % in New Mexico (see table below).

Hispanics Have Decisively Swung to the Democrats – According to the exit polls, Barack Obama improved Democrats’ performance with Hispanics nationwide by 16 net percentage points. In 2004, Senator John Kerry outperformed President George W. Bush with Latinos by 59% to 40%. In 2008, it was 67% Obama, 32% McCain. In the battleground Latino states, there was similar movement, with the vote shift in Florida from 44%-55% Kerry/Bush to 57% to 42% Obama/McCain. In each of these four states, the margin provided by the Latino vote played a significant role in President-elect Obama’s victory.

Hispanics Provided The Margin of Victory in These Four States – In Colorado, Obama’s Hispanic support accounted for 12.4% of the electorate, while Obama only won by 7%. In Florida, Obama’s Hispanic support accounted for 7.9% of the electorate, while Obama only won by 2%. In Nevada, Obama’s Hispanic support accounted for 12.4% of the electorate, while Obama only won by 12%. In New Mexico, Obama’s Hispanic support accounted for 28.3% of the electorate, while Obama only won by 15%.

Latino Vote Table

What should be most ominous to the GOP is what happened in these 4 states heavily contested by the Democrats. In this election, the center-left coalition went after the Hispanic vote as never before. It dramatically increased turnout in the southwestern states, and saw an historic shift of the enormous Florida Hispanic vote from Republican to Democrat. Similar investments in future years in states like Arizona and Texas could very well make these states – home to George W. Bush and John McCain – as blue as New Mexico and Colorado are today. 

Latino voters, who supported Bush in significant numbers in 2004, should not be taken for granted come January, as they have clearly lived up to their potential in turning out and mobilizing this election cycle. Both parties should now be increasingly vigilant in countering anti-immigrant rhetoric within their ranks and passing the kind of real immigration solutions that these voters have clearly demanded.