Latino voters support Obama by 3–1 ratio…on October 15th, 2012 at 8:00 am
But are less certain than others about Voting
Barack Obama over Republican challenger Mitt Romney by 69% to 21% and express growing satisfaction with the direction of the nation and the state of their personal finances but are somewhat less certain than non-Hispanics that they will vote in this election, according to a new nationwide survey of 1,765 Latinos. The survey was conducted from September 7 to October 4, 2012, by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.
Obama’s current lead over Romney among Hispanics has barely budged throughout the 2012 campaign and is larger than in the 2008 election, when he received 67% of the Hispanic vote to 31% for Republican John McCain (Lopez, 2008).
The new survey also finds a sharp rise in the past year in the share of Latinos who identify the Democratic Party as the one that has more concern for Latinos. Some 61% say this now, up from 45% in 2011. Just 10% say this about the Republican Party, down from 12% in 2011.
The Latino electorate is growing in size and importance. Today some 23.7 million Hispanics are eligible to vote, an increase of more than 4 million since 2008. Hispanics now account for a record 11.0% of the nation’s eligible electorate, up from 9.5% in 2008 (Lopez, Motel and Patten, 2012).
With the turnout rate of eligible Latinos voters historically lagging behind that of other groups, the new survey finds that 77% of Latino registered voters say they are “absolutely certain” they will vote this year. By comparison, 89% of all registered voters say the same in a separate Pew Research Center survey (2012b) of the general public taken at the same time.
Likewise, 61% of Latino registered voters say they have thought “quite a lot” about the upcoming presidential election, compared with 70% of registered voters in the general public.
At the same time, however, fully two-thirds (67%) of Latino adults say they believe the Latino vote will have a “major impact” on determining who wins this year’s election.
Latinos and State Photo ID Laws
One recent development that could potentially have an impact on the Latino turnout rate is the passage of state laws that require voters to show photo identification in order to cast a ballot. This year 11 states—Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Tennessee—have such laws in effect.1 Together, these states are home to 15% of all Latino eligible voters.2
According to the new survey, fully 97% of all Latino registered voters—as well as a nearly identical 95% of Latino registered voters in those 11 states—say they are confident they have the identification they will need to vote on Election Day.
The survey also finds broad support among Latino registered voters for voter photo ID laws; 71% favor them, nearly as high a share as among the general public (77%).
Top Issues among Latino Registered Voters
Education, jobs and the economy, and health care are the top issues for Hispanic registered voters. Some 55% of registered voters say the issue of education is extremely important to them, followed by 54% who cite jobs and the economy, and 50% who cite health care. These three top issues are the same as those cited by Hispanic registered voters in December 2011 (Lopez, Gonzalez-Barrera and Motel, 2011).
About a third (34%) of Hispanic registered voters say immigration is extremely important to them personally; similar shares say the same about the federal budget deficit (36%) and taxes (33%).
This report is based on a nationally representative bilingual telephone survey of 1,765 Latino adults, including 903 registered voters. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level; for registered voters, the margin of error is plus or minus 4.6 percentage points. The survey was largely conducted before the first presidential debate, which occurred on October 3, 2012. For a full description of the survey methodology, see Appendix B.