Thursday, 28 April 2011 10:49

Pew: Record Number of Hispanics Voted in 2010 Midterms

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More Hispanics voted in the 2010 midterm election than any other in U.S. history, the Pew Hispanic Center reports in its latest survey.

According to Pew, almost 7 million "Latinos," (the alternate term for Hispanics of Latin American origin) cast a ballot:

More than 6.6 million Latinos voted in last year’s election — a record for a midterm — according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. Latinos also were a larger share of the electorate in 2010 than in any previous midterm election, representing 6.9% of all voters, up from 5.8% in 2006.

This news arrives just weeks after the Census Bureau reported that 50.5 million Hispanics now live in the United States.

The Breakdown

Pew notes that the massive increase in the Hispanic population drove the highest level of Hispanics votes in midterm history. As the Census Bureau reported, the Hispanic population jumped 43 percent between the 2000 and 2010 censuses. "Rapid population growth has helped fuel Latinos’ increasing electoral participation," Pew explains.

According to the Census Bureau, 50.5 million Hispanics were counted by the 2010 Census, up from 35.3 million in 2000. Over the same decade, the number of Latino eligible voters — adults who are U.S. citizens — also increased, from 13.2 million in 2000 to 21.3 million in 2010.

Fortunately for the GOP, most Hispanics (who tend to vote for Democrats in overwhelming numbers) are ineligible to vote because they are too young or aren't citizens, or even in the United States legally. "More than one third of Latinos (34.9%) are younger than the voting age of 18, a share greater than that of any other group," Pew reports. "And an additional 22.4% are of voting age, but are not U.S. citizens."

As well, a smaller share of the "Latino" population, compared to the share of whites, blacks, and Asian, is eligible to vote.

Just 42.7% of the nation’s Latino population is eligible to vote, while more than three-in-four (77.7%) of whites, two-thirds of blacks (67.2%) and more than half of Asians (52.8%) are eligible to vote.

Pew also notes that even when Hispanics are eligible to vote, they are less likely to do so when compared to other groups. "In 2010, 31.2% of Latino eligible voters say they voted," Pew repors, " while nearly half (48.6%) of white eligible voters and 44.0% of black eligible voters said the same."

But Pew says that will likely changed because the "the number of Latino eligible voters will continue to grow in the coming decades as a steady stream of U.S.-born Latinos becomes eligible to vote by turning 18 — more than 600,000 did so annually between 2006 and 2010."

If that is the case, the GOP had better watch out. Hispanics routinely vote Democratic, despite what Republicans believe about Hispanics being "more conservative" than other ethnic groups.

Hispanics cast 67 percent of their votes for President Obama in 2008 and at least 60 percent for Democrats in the 2010 midterm election. Pew predicted that outcome a month before the election.

Bad for Texas and Other States Like It

The growing population of Hispanic voters does not bode well for states such as Texas. Steve Murdock, a demographer for Rice University, recently predicted that "it's over" for Anglos in Texas because Hispanics will eventually take over the state. Problem is, Texas will collapse economically, and, if voting patterns continue, it may well collapse politically.

As Murdock told the Houston Chronicle, the Hispanic population in Texas will continue increasing for the foreseeable future. Murdock observed that the white population is "old and aging," while the other is "young and minority." "Between 2000 and 2040," the newspaper reported, "the state's public school enrollment will see a 15 percent decline in Anglo children while Hispanic children will make up a 213 percent increase, he said."

Harris County alone, the paper indicated, will add 2.5 million Hispanics but lose 516,000 "Anglos." And within 30 years, just 20 percent of school children in Texas will be white.

Murdock's worry is that Hispanics are far less educated and make much less money than whites, which will dramatically affect the economic future of the state. The corollary observation, even without Pew's data, is that more Hispanic voters will also change the state politically.

Pew's latest numbers on the Hispanic vote merely confirm what demographer Murdock's numbers show.

As CNN columnist Ruben Navarette wrote in March, "The United States is becoming an Hispanic country. And it's happening much faster than anyone expected."

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