Friday, May 24, 2024

The Year of the Latino?

After many years of expectation it seems the stage has finally been set for Latinos this election year...

In 2004 George W. Bush made headlines when he was able to gain forty percent of the Latino vote since Latinos traditionally vote for the Democratic candidates. This percentage is also significant when we consider that Latinos make up a large bloc of voters in four key states that George W. Bush carried by fewer than 5 percentage points in 2004. They comprise 37 percent of the eligible electorate in New Mexico, 14 percent in Florida, 12 percent in Colorado and 12 percent in Nevada. These states will also play a key role in this years coming election.

Every election promises to be a historic one for Latinos. The reality is that the number of Latinos involved in the electoral process has been steadily increasing in the past years. US Census data reveals that between the presidential elections of 1988 and 2004, the Latino vote doubled.

This election promises to be just as close as the last one. Except this year Latinos seem to be more motivated to come to the polls. The immigrant backlash that has emerged in recent years has certainly motivated some in the Latino community to register to vote and become more involved in the political process. The polls have been influenced by the Bush administration’s new high-profile crackdown on illegal immigrants, featured nightly on Spanish-language news. Most recently, many have not forgotten the images from Pottsville, Iowa where Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers detained approximately 300 individuals at Meatpacking Company. Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressmen Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) and Congressmen Joe Baca (D-Ca) visited the site after the raid and said “this is a firsthand example of how a broken Immigration system devastates a small town.” This could be the reason why Latinos polled by the Pew Hispanic Center said Democrats are doing a better job of dealing with illegal immigration, and by 44 to 8 percent Latinos say Democrats are the party with more concern for Latinos.

Due to our electoral process, the presidency is determined by a small number of states. The presence of Latinos in some of these swing states and their motivation to be involved in the process due to the significance of the immigration issue may mean that we will achieve a higher voter turnout this election cycle. According to the Census, 7.5 million Latinos voted in the 2004 election. The goal of Latino organizations this year is to increase that number to 10 million. If this goal is met this year, perhaps this might be the year of the Latino.

Voice of San Diego


  1. Colorado should be on the radar of anyone who might be looking to see how the Latino vote will play out this election year.

    5280, Denver’s magazine for the past 15 years, has a nice package of articles online this month that interested Latino vote/politics watchers will want to check out.

    Colorado Senator Ken Salazar is raising the profile of Latinos across the state and the nation:

    Colorado’s most influential Latinos are briefly profiled as well:

    Finally, the national immigration debate is playing out in Greeley, Colorado, which was netted in the Swift Meatpacking raids of December 2006: