Posted on July 1, 2011

Latinos Push for Political Influence

Bob Costantini and Susanna Capelouto, CNN, June 30, 2011

Armed with fresh census data, Latinos around the country are flexing their political muscle. From state legislatures to Congress, the Hispanic vote is getting a voice.

Twelve million Hispanics are expected to vote in next year’s elections, according to a survey the National Association of Latino Elected Officials released last week.


These findings come after census numbers show that Hispanics make up 16.3% of the U.S. population and are now the country’s largest minority group.


The battle over Latinos and new political maps also is playing out in Texas, which is gaining four new congressional seats. More than 37% of Texans are Latino.

And though they tend to lean Democratic, their preference is far from one-sided.

Mark Braden, a Republican attorney in Washington who advises the party on redistricting issues, says he’s optimistic. He says he believes the GOP can make inroads with some Hispanic immigrant groups.

“Central Americans, I think, tend to be more socially conservative–traditional Catholics, large families, some people would say more entrepreneurial, and I think have been and likely to continue to be more Republican,” Braden says.

President George W. Bush got 40% of the Hispanic vote in his 2004 re-election bid. But in 2008, 67% of the Latino vote went to Barack Obama. {snip}


There are more than 50 million Hispanics in the United States, and the census shows that their continued influx and domestic birth rate accounts for more than half the nation’s overall growth this past decade. It’s a new reality all politicians will need to deal with come election time.