Latino Politics

Young Latino voters turned out in greater numbers in 2012 than four years ago

Young Latino voters turned out in greater numbers in 2012 than four years ago

LatinaLista — It's an understatement to say that the 2012 Latino voter turnout will be analyzed, researched, surveyed and written about for years to come. In that spirit, the latest study examining this year's voter turnout focuses on young voters.

Diverse Electorate: A Deeper Look into the Millennial Vote," by The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement looked at the nation's 23 million young voters and found that, in some areas, they mirrored closely what was found among adult voters.

For example, young Latina voters chose Obama in greater numbers compared to young Latinos. Also, young Latina voters were found to be the most liberal of all young voters, and — to the disappointment of their parents no doubt, the least religious.

With all the fear generated by the media that Latino voters, especially young Latino voters, wouldn't show up, this survey shows that they actually turned out in greater numbers than they did in 2008 — surpassing, for the first time, Black voters.

Perhaps the most telling revelation coming out of this poll, and one which will have Republicans kicking themselves for sometime and underscores the fact that Obama was correct when questioned why Romney would lose the election, is this tidbit:

Among the minority groups, young Hispanic men were most likely to affiliate with the Republican party or consider themselves independents, but two-thirds of them voted for President Obama.

Because of future demographic trends, the Latino youth vote is projected to only get stronger and be counted as an essential factor in any analysis of the overall Latino vote.

A few more findings of the youth vote survey include:

  • Young Black and Hispanic women provided the strongest support for President Obama. A majority admired him, much as they did in 2008.
  • Women considered President Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy an important factor in deciding their votes.
  • Young White women, the most influential youth constituency because of their size and turnout, were split in half on many issues that challenge our nation, including their choice for president, their view of the government, and abortion.
  • Young White men, as a group, held a quite different view of the President, the role of the government, and how to move forward with immigration reform than all the other groups. They were unhappy with the way the economy was, and wanted Governor Romney to improve the economy.
  • Young Hispanic men cast 9% of the youth vote, up from 6% in 2008.
  • Young Black men voters were somewhat more conservative and younger in 2012 than in 2008. Young Black men voters were less excited about President Obama than Black women voters in 2008, and the voters in 2012 were more likely to identify as Republicans and Independents than they did in 2008. Although a majority of Black men voters supported President Obama again, a larger portion of them voted for the Republican candidate this year than the same group did in 2008.
  • Young White women’s influence in the youth electorate has decreased since 2008, while Hispanic influence has increased: 42% of young voters were persons of color – and for the first time, the Hispanic vote share surpassed the Black vote share. In 2008, the Hispanic youth vote was 14% of the youth electorate. This year, it increased to 18%. Asian-American voters now represented five percent of the youth vote.
  • Male voters were generally more conservative and less supportive of President Obama. Among male voters, the most notable trend was a decrease in support for President Obama among young Black men since 2008.
  • Young voters were generally supportive of abortion and same-sex marriage regardless of gender and race.
  • President Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy won back youth support, especially from young women of color.
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