NYT: Why Hispanics Will Have Little Impact in Midterms

Monday, 16 Jun 2014 12:13 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Hispanic American voters will have a hard time making an impact in congressional and Senate races in the midterm elections, despite accounting for 17 percent of the population, The New York Times reported.

As the GOP attempts to take control of the Senate in November from the Democrats, Hispanics will likely represent just 3 percent of the electorate, while half of all the 50 million Hispanics in the United States live in just 65 of the nation’s 435 congressional districts.

The reason that Hispanics, who strongly support an immigration overhaul, have so little voting power starts with the fact that 28 percent of them are under the eligible voting age of 18, compared to 22 percent of non-Hispanics.

The problem is compounded by the number of adult Hispanics who are U.S. citizens, 69 percent, while 96 percent of non-Hispanic adults are citizens, the Times said.

The figures translate into 49 percent of Hispanics able to vote, compared to 74 percent of non-Hispanics, who overall make up just 11 percent of the eligible voting population.

The Times also noted that Hispanics are less likely to vote than other Americans, partially because they are younger, and people tend to vote more often when they get older.

In 2012, 48 percent of potential Hispanics voters went to the polls in the presidential election, compared with 66.2 percent among blacks and 64.1 percent among whites.

Hispanics voted overwhelmingly for President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney in that election.

On the whole, Hispanics are concentrated in large states, like California, Florida, and Texas, while there are a negligent numbers Hispanics in small states like Wyoming, and North and South Dakota. The Hispanic share of the eligible Senate electorate is just 7.5 percent, according to the Times.

Hispanic voters are more concentrated in non-competitive states and districts, resulting in Latinos representing less than 5 percent of eligible voters in 9 of the 10 most competitive Senate states, the newspaper reported.

"That means the nation’s Hispanics have about as much say in this year’s crucial Senate races as do… Native Americans in Alaska who happen to represent 13 percent of eligible voters in the Senate’s least populous battleground," wrote Times writer Nate Cohn.

In the House, Hispanics will have it just as tough in making their voices heard. With half the country’s Hispanic population living in just 65 congressional districts, there are only 6.7 percent of eligible Latino voters in districts held by Republicans.

The Times points out that there is a large population of Hispanics in a handful of battleground districts, but Republicans have a comfortable lead in the House and are not concerned about dropping a few seats.

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