LatinaLista — The epitome of strength of the Latino vote is, of course, turnout. If Latinos don’t vote, there’s no gain in political influence, credibility to deliver votes for politicians who introduce controversial legislation on behalf of Latinos, or even a show of support to potential Latino candidates who must rely on Latino voters to get elected in an age of anti-Latino (immigrant) rhetoric.
The notion that “my vote doesn’t matter” or “there’s enough other Latinos to vote in my place” couldn’t be farther from the truth right now. At this point in the political evolution of the Latino community, every single Latino vote does matter.
Where Latino voters can be found across the nation in sizable percentages.
Even in states where Latino voters may make up less than 8 percent of the total voting public, every Latino vote still does matter because analysts who predict the future strength of voting blocs are watching. They base their predictions on past performance, and we’ve seen that as long as it’s not a presidential election, past behavior is a very good indicator of potential voting strength of particular groups.
Yet, just where do Latino voters stand in regard to influence in each state? Well, thanks to a map created by Fox News, based on the Pew Hispanic Center’s tabulations of the Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey, it’s now possible to see the percentage of voters in some states who are Latino.
In both Oregon and Washington state, Latino voters comprise 5 percent of total voters in each state.
California has 5.4 million eligible Latino voters.
Latino voters comprise 14% of the electorate.
In Arizona, Latino voters stand at 18 percent — a total of 766,000.
In New Mexico, Latino voters are 38 percent of the state’s electorate.
Twenty-five of the Texas electorate are comprised of Latino voters.
In Florida, 15 percent.
In Illinois, 8 percent.
Eleven percent in New Jersey are eligible Latino voters.
And in New York, 12 percent of Latino voters comprise the state’s voters.
The map doesn’t list some states — not because Latino voters don’t reside there but because their numbers are so small as to not make a statistical difference, I’m assuming.
Yet what shouldn’t be forgotten is, because these numbers are based on the 2008 Community Survey, another assumption that has to be made is that the numbers are a little more than what was reflected in 2008. Between 2008 and 2010, many Latino 18-year-olds became eligible to vote pushing the percentages higher — and increasing the opportunity for Latino voters to gain in political influence.