Election 2016

Turning points

Latino voters could decide the election. Here's what we know about turnout.

Latino voters could decide the election. Here’s what we know about turnout so far.

Donald Trump’s remarks about Latinos and tough talk on immigration could be hurting his aspirations for the presidency by prompting latinos to vote in unprecedented numbers. Both the NYT and Politico report that early-voting numbers from battleground states indicate a surge in Latino turnout — and many are voting for his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Some might find some poetic justice in this, particularly in an election so fraught with issues of ethnicity and immigration. Voto Latino, a nonpartisan civic group, said last month that they had registered more than 100,000 new voters in less than one year and were expecting a “record turnout” of Latino voters as a result.

Analyses of 2012 exit polls by the Pew Hispanic Center found that Latinos tend to vote Democrat. 71 percent of Latinos voted for President Barack Obama, compared to 27 percent who voted for Mitt Romney.

Here’s how things look for Latino voter turnout in key states:

Nevada may be poised to go blue

Veteran political analyst Jon Ralston wrote in the Reno Gazette-Journal that Trump initially had a chance in Nevada because of its relatively large body of white voters without a college degree, a group that strongly favors Trump. But that’s looking less sure now. In some areas, like Clark County — which encompasses Las Vegas — Latino turnout was so large that Trump’s “path went from narrow to blocked.” The Latino vote there helped catapult the Democratic lead by 72,000 votes.

Florida turnout soars

Florida, another battleground state, has also seen a surge in Latinos casting early ballots. Eight years ago, 260,263 Latino voters cast their ballot early in Florida, according to CNN. So far, that number has almost doubled to nearly 600,000. The race in Florida is tight; A CNN/ORC poll this week showed Clinton leading with 49 percent, compared to Trump at 47 percent.

Georgia: turnout more than doubles


Latino early voters have soared by
144 percent since 2012. Though Georgia’s Latino population is just 9.4 percent, which is small compared to other states, the presidential race there is close enough for those votes to have an impact. According to a recent NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll, Clinton is trailing Trump by just one percent. The last time Georgia went blue was in 1992, when voters favored then Arkansas Bill Clinton over incumbent Republican George H. W. Bush.

North Carolina

In North Carolina, early voting among Latinos has risen by 75 percent since 2012, according to CNN. But despite voting numbers being up, Latinos comprise only around two percent of North Carolina’s electorate, compared to over 70 percent of whites. Like in Georgia, the boost could still help Clinton solidify her lead over her Republican opponent, which recent polls suggest is about three percentage points.

African-American turnout may be down

In October, David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report pointed out that Clinton’s road to victory depends heavily on the support from both Latino and black voters. While Latino voter turnout was up across the board, black voter turnout could be waning compared to previous years. A lack of enthusiasm among African-American voters could be cause for concern, Wasserman wrote, especially because of the size of the black electorate in battleground states like North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

White turnout could cancel out Latino turnout

While Latino voting turnout might be up, so is white voter turnout, The Washington Post reported, particularly in Texas, Arizona and North Carolina. “Although many of these white voters may be Democrats, this suggests a more nuanced story about the likelihood that high Latino early voting alone will reshape the electoral landscape,” the Post wrote.

IMAGE CREDIT: Latino leaders and immigration reform supporters gather on the campus of the University of Colorado on October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Evan Semon

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