The states of Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida went to President Barack Obama in 2008, and now with an added count of electoral votes as a result of reapportionment, these Latino battleground states stand to play a major role in whether the president will be re-elected in 2012, according to an analysis by Latino Decisions.
“In 2012, due to declining approval of Obama among Whites, and a change in the number of electoral college votes during reapportionment, Latino voters, and Latino influence states are likely to play a very crucial role in determining which candidate gets to 270 electors,” says Latino Decisions pollster Matt Barreto in his article Latino Influence States even more Important in 2012 Electoral College Map.
These four states have seen their numbers of electoral votes climb for two straight reapportionments from 42 in 2000 to 49 for 2012, in good part thanks to the Latino population growth in each of these states.
This time around these states may not be so much in the bag for Obama as they are up for grabs, with Republicans looking to scale-back some of his Hispanic support. As recently reported by La Plaza, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, whose family enjoys a sizeable amount of Hispanic support and has been successful in bringing the GOP to favor with Hispanics in the past, recently launched a full scale campaign to court Latino voters to take back the White House in 2012.
“In 2010, New Mexico and Nevada elected Republican Latino governors, and Florida a Republican Latino U.S. Senator, creating some buzz that with these surrogates, Republicans may attempt to chip away at Obama’s strong Latino numbers in each state in 2008,” Barreto says.
In 2008, Obama secured 365 electoral votes, but as a result of reapportionment, those states he carried now have 9 less electoral votes and combined with the president’s current approval ratings, ranging 46%-54% depending on the poll, several states he won in 2008 may now go Republican in 2012. In a scenario where North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, and the 2nd House district in Nebraska went to Republicans, this would leave Obama with 301 electors and 237 for the GOP.
“Indeed, if Obama has only 301 votes leaning towards his column in 2012 these 49 Latino-influence electoral votes are absolutely crucial – without which he’d be left with just 252 votes,” Barreto said.
There are a “limitless” number of ways the electoral map could be divided in 2012 says Barreto, but if Obama doesn’t take at least 3 out of 4 of these Latino-influence states he may not get the 270 electoral votes he needs for another four years.
“Anyway you look at the map in 2012, Obama needs to hold all three of these critical Southwestern states, and the Latino vote, growing in size and influence, will certainly make the difference, just as they did in 2010,” Barreto said.