Saturday, July 20, 2024

Latino Battleground States Crucial for Electoral College Votes in 2012

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.

Latino Decisions


  1. By 2012, the National Popular Vote bill could guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Elections wouldn’t be about winning states. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. Every vote, everywhere would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

    Under the current winner-take-all laws (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state) used by 48 of the 50 states, in 2012, candidates will not care about 72% of the voters– voters in 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and big states like California, Georgia, New York, and Texas. 2012 campaigning would be even more obscenely exclusive than 2008 and 2004. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    The bill has been endorsed by the National Latino Congreso.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: CO– 68%, IA –75%, MI– 73%, MO– 70%, NH– 69%, NV– 72%, NM– 76%, NC– 74%, OH– 70%, PA — 78%, VA — 74%, and WI — 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE –75%, ME — 77%, NE — 74%, NH –69%, NV — 72%, NM — 76%, RI — 74%, VT — 75%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and border states: AR –80%, KY — 80%, MS –77%, MO — 70%, NC — 74%, and VA — 74%; and in other states polled: CA — 70%, CT — 74% , MA — 73%, MN – 75%, NY — 79%, WA — 77%, and WV- 81%.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, NY, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA ,RI, VT, and WA . The bill has been enacted by DC, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, and WA. These 7 states possess 74 electoral votes — 27% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.