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Hispanics could make a difference in 2020 (if they turn out to vote)

The Latino vote in the United States is often regarded as a 'sleeping giant.' But new data from the 2018 midterm elections shows that Latinos came out in historic numbers, confirming a population trend that could see their vote become a major factor in 2020.
(Lea este articulo en español)
30 Abr 2019 – 02:30 PM EDT
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Hispanic turnout in the 2018 elections reached historically high numbers. Crédito: FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / Getty Images

Hispanic turnout in the 2018 elections recorded double and triple digit increases, meaning Hispanics are the fastest-growing portion of the electorate heading into the 2020 election, according to an in-depth analysis of 2018 state-by-state certified voting data published Tuesday by Univision Communications.

The comprehensive analysis, conducted by Univision’s political researchers, provides a detailed look at state-by-state 2018 certified voter data, revealing information about the growing role and significance of Hispanics as an important voting bloc. It shows that the rate of increase in Hispanic voters in 2018 compared to 2014, was more than double that of total voters. The turnout rate among the youngest Hispanic voters aged 18-24 s exploded by an average of 170 percentage points in California, Texas, Nevada, New York, Illinois, Florida and New Jersey. Among voters aged 25-34 it was 128%.

"The data tells a compelling narrative about the strength and influence of the latino voter that will inform and shape the upcoming 2020 election," Univision CEO Vince Sadusky said in a statement.

The Univision analysis coincides with turnout data published recently by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) based on the latest population survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. It found that Latino voter turnout increased by 13 percentage points in the 2018 election, a 50 percent increase in Latino voter turnout from 2014. More than 40 percent of the Latino citizen voting-age population cast ballots in 2018, up from 27 percent in the previous midterm election.

The data confirms a trend that some experts predicted a while ago, based on the increase in the Hispanic population in the United States. “You are starting to see this group now assert itself in elections at the local and national level. 2018 was historic turnout and I think you will see historic turnout again in 2020,” said Fernand Amandi, a Miami-based Democratic pollster. Noting that about 500,000 US-born citizens of Hispanic origin will turn 18 every year for the next 20 years. “You are talking about 10 million Hispanic voters who are entering the electorate. You are seeing them assert themselves,” he added.

"This is not just in key states, it's nationwide," said Sergio Garcia-Rios, director of Data and Polling for Univision who also teaches Government and Latino Studies at Cornell University and conducted his own study of census data. "It's not only the usual suspect like California. We see it in every state where we have data."

NALEO’s chief executive officer, Arturo Vargas, said his group’s recent poll data shows that eight in ten Latino registered voters state they are likely to vote in the upcoming presidential election.”

Univision’s analysis found that in California, the number of Hispanic registered voters grew nearly four times more (+22%) than non-Hispanics (+6%). In Illinois, that number grew three times more (+28%) than non-Hispanics (+9%) and in Florida it was 2.2 times greater (+28%) than non-Hispanics (+13%). It also showed that over half of new registered voters in California were Hispanic, as well as two in five in Texas and one in three in Florida and New Jersey. They also accounted for a quarter of new registered voters in Illinois and Nevada.

The Univision survey was conducted with L2, a provider of enhanced voter data and customized data processing, using known general election 2018 voter returns and L2's ethnic coding data to determine ethnicity.

Another recent study, 'The Latino Vote Project.' by a group of Democratic consultants including America's Voice and Latino Decisions, found the new Hispanic voters strongly favored Democratic party candidates were making elections more "competitive" in several states, including Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Texas. "Latinos voted in favor of the Democrats at significantly higher rates compared to their Democratic support in 2014 (...) Latinos were key to changing the election in favor of the Democrats," the study indicates.

Latinos were essential to making 2018 statewide elections competitive in Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and Texas. "Across these four states Latinos comprised a larger share of the statewide electorate compared to 2014, while the White share decreased," the study found.

Univision also announced on Tuesday that it is launching a non-partisan 2020 voter registration campaign, ‘Vota Conmigo’ (Vote With me) together with NALEO and the league of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

“As the leading Hispanic media company in the U.S., it is our responsibility to inform and empower our audience and encourage them to participate in the political process to make their voices heard,” said Sadusky.