Thursday, January 21, 2016

Number Of Eligible Hispanic Voters Rises Sharply In 2016

Republicans should be worried by the chart above. They failed to get even 30% of the Hispanic vote in the last two presidential elections -- and that could well have been what cost them the White House in those elections. And the number of Hispanic voters keeps growing -- making them an ever larger portion of the total vote (since they are growing much faster than other racial or ethnic groups).

An additional 4 million Hispanics will be eligible to vote in 2016 over the number eligible in 2012 (a growth of about 17%). There will be about 27.3 million Hispanics eligible to vote in 2016. Of course, not everyone who is eligible to vote actually does cast a vote (in any racial or ethnic group). In 2012, about 11.2 million Hispanics actually voted -- about 48% of the 23.3 eligible voters.

If that same percentage voted in 2016, that would mean about 13.1 Hispanic voters (or nearly 2 million more voters than in 2012 -- about a 17% increase). That would be normal. But the Republicans have decided to make their anti-immigrant policies one of the cornerstones of their 2016 campaign -- and all of their leading presidential candidates have gone along with that. That could inflate the Hispanic vote, since that is an issue many polls have shown is important to them. What if it drives the increase in Hispanic voters from 17% to 20-25%?

Some Republicans may think they can capture a significant percentage of the Hispanic vote by nominating either Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio -- both of Cuban heritage. That won't happen. Cruz and Rubio have gone along with the GOP's anti-immigrant policies -- and in fact, recently had a very public argument with each claiming to be the most anti-immigrant candidate. That may play well with the racists in the GOP base, but it certainly won't win Hispanic voters over.

Right-wing Republicans seem to think they can win a presidential election with only White voters. I think they are wrong. White voters will be a smaller percentage of the electorate in 2016, because their percentage has been dropping in each presidential election. Minority voters will be a larger percentage in the past (especially Hispanics). That is just a fact.

The Republicans are playing with fire, and they could well get burned by the growing number of Hispanic voters in 2016.

The chart above is from information in a new Pew Research Center study.

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