With the Presidential election less than 3 weeks away, Chicanos and Latinos across the country are poised as the voting demographic that will determine who becomes the next President of the U.S.A. This milestone was nearly reached in the last presidential race when President Obama won 67%-69% of the Latino vote to Senator McCain's 28%-31%.
Today, with most states clearly leaning towards a particular presidential candidate, several states are labeled "battleground states" because voter support is so evenly divided between the two candidates. The next president must win the majority of these states to win the election. In the key battleground states of Florida, Colorado, and Nevada, Chicanos and Latinos are roughly 15% of all eligible, registered voters. While Chicanos and Latinos comprise nearly 5% of all registered voters in the battleground states of Virginia and North Carolina. In New Mexico, nearly 40% of the electorate is Chicano or Hispano. While Arizona is not seen as a battleground state by mainstream media and pollsters, the Chicano population is highly mobilized against anti-immigrant legislation and polling nearly 80% in favor of President Obama. Arizona's Chicano population is almost large enough to swing this state in Obama's favor by themselves.
Latino population growth and increased voter registration, has made the Latino vote pivotal in presidential elections. At the national and state levels, Latinos are polling 67%-73% in favor of President Obama. At these levels, if Latinos vote, we will be the deciding factor in who wins the presidency and future presidential candidates will not be able to ignore our voting power.
Editor and Instructor
Department of Chicano and Latino Studies
[Note: Latino Decisions a non-partisan, Latino political opinion research firm provided much of the data for this editorial. For information about voting in Minnesota, please visit the non-partisan MN Latino Caucus.]