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U.S. Census analysis on 2008 presidential race reveals young Latino voters hold key to future elections

LatinaLista — The U.S. Census released their analysis — Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008 and found out several distinct things about Latino voters. Among the findings are:


1. An extra 2 million Latino voters turned out for the 2008 election making it a 4 percent increase from previous elections. In fact, more Latinos, along with blacks, voted in the 2008 election than in any other election since the U.S. Census Bureau began consistently measuring citizenship status in 1996.

2. The increase in Latino voters can be directly attributed to voters between the ages of 18 and 24.

The findings illustrate what people were reporting on during the presidential election — that young people, who were targeted with specific “get out the vote” campaigns responded to the Obama message in droves and were responsible for a large part in getting their extended family members to vote too.

While the surge in young voters is a positive for the Latino community, it’s also problematic.

It’s problematic because what occurred in 2008 with this age group may never be repeated successfully to the extent of what was accomplished in 2008.

And that’s the problem.

Because the past campaign was so focused on getting Obama elected — a candidate who resonated with young people of color, any future election that fails to excite this constituency in any way remotely similar as 2008 runs the risk of Latino turnout reverting to pre-2008 voting rates.

So what can be done? Maybe nothing needs to be done if the GOP doesn’t cooperate with the Democrats in crafting an immigration reform bill.

If immigration reform has not been resolved, that will be one issue that could possibly mimic the enthusiasm of 2008. It has all the earmarks:

1. “The Underdog” — any politician who supports immigration reform will be portrayed as an underdog candidate to the majority.

2. “It’s Personal” — immigration status doesn’t affect young Latino voters but it can hit close to home for some of them. Chances are they know someone — family member, friend, neighbor, classmate — who is undocumented and needs immigration reform to happen.

3. “Making a Difference” — Casting votes for politicians who go on record for promising to vote for immigration reform is making a difference by electing politicians willing to do the right thing in return for the votes received by a constituency who will hold that politician accountable.

4. “Creating Change” — Change is created not only with whom is sent to Congress but with the voters themselves. In order to vote for the right candidates of their choice, young voters will have to do homework and research.

Hopefully, the process will create the kind of change within themselves that will cause them to realize that the only way to effect change in Washington, or local and state politics, is to change the attitude that their vote can’t make a difference — it already has once and can again, and again, and again …

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  • Pepito
    May 12, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    All Latinos need to vote for Democratic candidates. No questions asked. We need to get all those Republican racists out of office.

  • cookie
    May 13, 2010 at 7:52 am

    The fact that Latinos and Blacks voted for a minority candidate has a hint of racism all its own. Amazing how it can only be whites that are racists, right? So if a white person doesn’t want the kind of CIR that rewards immigration violaters that makes them racists? What does that make Latinos and Blacks who also don’t want that and believe me there are many. Are they also racists or is the criteria just skin color?

  • Grandma
    May 13, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    If your article is true, we’re in big trouble:
    Hispanics and the GED
    by Richard Fry, Senior Researcher, Pew Hispanic Center
    May 13, 2010
    Just one-in-ten Hispanic high school dropouts has a General Educational Development (GED) credential, widely regarded as the best “second chance” pathway to college, vocational training and military service for adults who have not graduated from high school. By contrast, two-in-ten black high school dropouts and three-in-ten white high school dropouts have a GED, according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of newly available educational attainment data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey.
    The relatively low level of GED credentialing among Hispanic high school dropouts is especially notable because Hispanics have a much higher high school dropout rate than do blacks or whites. Some 41% of Hispanics ages 20 and older in the United States do not have a regular high school diploma, versus 23% of comparably aged blacks and 14% of whites.
    Among Hispanics, there are significant differences between the foreign born and the native born in high school diploma attainment rates and GED credentialing rates. Some 52% of foreign-born Latino adults are high school dropouts, compared with 25% of the native born. And among Hispanic dropouts, some 21% of the native born have a GED, compared with just 5% of the foreign born.
    Hispanics are the nation’s largest minority group; they make up 47 million, or 15%, of the population of the United States. As of 2008, there were 29 million Hispanics ages 20 and older; of this group, 41% are native born and 59% are foreign born.
    This Pew Hispanic Center report also analyzes labor market outcomes of Hispanic adults based on whether they dropped out of high school, have a GED or obtained a regular high school diploma or more. Among its key findings:
    As of 2008, Hispanic adults with a GED had a higher unemployment rate than Hispanic adults with a high school diploma — 9% versus 7%.
    However, Hispanic full-time, full-year workers with a GED had about the same mean annual earnings ($33,504) as Hispanic full-time, full-year workers with a high school diploma ($32,972).

  • Indiana Bob
    May 17, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Yo Cookie,
    I am trying to find in the article where Marisa says “young people of color voted for a minority candidate just because of that”, but I can’t. She does say that Obama “resonated with young people of color”, but so did Bobby Kennedy.
    You try to find a racist minority under every rock.

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