HIGHER LATINO VOTER TURNOUT EXPECTED
By AMY WALKER
Talk Radio News Service
WASHINGTON - Researchers are expecting higher turnout this year at the polls when it comes to Hispanic-American voters.
Officials aligned with Project Vote, a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focusing on minority voters, told reporters during a conference call today that they expected the number of Hispanics who will vote this year to increase 21 percent from 2008.
“In 2008 we projected that 9.2 [million] Latinos would vote and the actual number was 9.7 [million],” National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Education Fund Executive Director Arturo Vargus said. “So our projection of 12.2 voters in November 2012 is actually fairly conservative, and we feel very confident that we will meet and hopefully surpass that number.”
According to the Center for Immigration Studies, 52.7 percent of eligible Hispanic voters, nationally and in battleground states, will vote in the upcoming election.
Clarissa Martinez-De-Castro, the Director of Immigration and Civic Engagement with the National Council of La Raza, said her group distributed 90,820 voter registration applications to eligible Hispanics in 17 states.
A University of New Mexico Political Science Department survey that polled 400 Hispanic voters showed that aside from the economy, immigration reform is the main issue for Hispanic voters in New Mexico, where 46.7 percent of residents are persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, according to the United States Census Bureau.
“Most Hispanics in this particular state are not immigrants,” said UNM professor Gabe Sanchez. “Almost a third of the sampling is saying immigration is the most important thing on my mind when I’m entering the ballot box.”
The poll showed showed 69 percent of those New Mexico voters favored President Obama, compared to just 24 percent for Romney.
In Virginia, a report released by Latino Decisions showed that Hispanic voters have a high chance of tilting the state in support of President Obama.
“President Obama’s decision in June to grant deferred action to DREAMer marked a ‘turning point’ among Latino voter around the country, making them significantly more enthusiastic about voting in November and national polling results understate the level of enthusiasm among Latino voters in battleground states like Virginia who are more engaged than latinos in less contested states like California and Texas,” Latino Decisions Principal Matt Baretto said.
According to the Census Bureau, 16.7 percent of the total U.S. Hispanic population lives in Virginia.
A poll conducted by Latino Decisions and Americas’s Voice showed that 66 percent of Latino voters in Virginia say they are planning to vote for Obama.
While most observers expect Obama to win New Mexico handily this year, they’re not as certain about Virginia, where polls show him running neck-and-neck with GOP nominee Mitt Romney. 13 electoral votes are up for grabs in the Commonwealth State, compared to just five in New Mexico.
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