tags: , , America’s Voice Research on Immigration Reform

Spanish-Language Media and the Latino Vote

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Why does the Latino Vote Matter?

Since the last Census in 2000, the Latino population in America has grown dramatically, and Latinos have become the largest minority group in the United States. [1]

 Latinos are responsible for 51% of the United States’ population growth from 2000 to 2009.

While the Latino electorate is trending Democratic generally, a significant segment — foreign-born, naturalized U.S. citizens, who represent, who represent 40% of the Latino voter population—has proven to be a true swing constituency. [2]

In the 2008 presidential election, approximately 10 million Latinos voted (around 9% of the electorate), an increase of roughly 2.5 million voters from 2004 and nearly 4 million from 2000.  And these Latinos are turning out in key swing states in both Presidential and Congressional races:

  • Florida saw Latino voter turnout grow by 81% between 2000 and 2008
  • Nevada saw Latino voter turnout grow by 164% between 2000 and 2008
  • North Carolina saw Latino voter turnout grow by 250% between 2000 and 2008

In 2010, Latinos’ strong turnout, especially in the West, was widely credited attributed to saving the Senate [3] and turning out in record numbers.[4]

What Issues Matter Most to Latino Voters?

According to recent polling by impreMedia and Latino Decisions, 47% of Latino voters rank immigration as their top issue.  The economy and education follow with 34% and 20%, respectively.[5]

How Is the Spanish-Language Media Involved In the Immigration Debate?

Those paying closest attention to the ongoing immigration debate are consumers of national Spanish-language media.  Both Univisión and Telemundo, each of which has an audience of millions, interrupted regularly scheduled broadcasts to carry the December 2010 DREAM Act vote in the Senate live. This year, 61% of the stories covering the first two hearings under the new Republican-controlled House Immigration Subcommittee ran in Spanish-language media.

In addition, print Spanish-language media, including La Opinión (which reaches over one million readers), report and editorialize about the issue on a near-daily basis.  Spanish-language radio also covered the issue heavily in 2010 and continues to make it a topic of conversation and debate in their live talk shows.


[1] America’s Voice, “The New  Constituents,” October 2010

[2] America’s Voice, “The Power of the Latino Vote in America,” October 2010

[3] Politico, “Hispanic vote a 2012 wild card,” November 7, 2010

[4] New York Times, “Latinos Reached Milestones in Midterm Races,” November 5, 2010

[5] impreMedia-Latino Decisions, “Tracking Poll: Immigration and Economy Are Top Concerns for US Latinos,” February 2011