The Hispanic vote and the next Congress

It’s worth pausing to think about the November Congressional elections, the Hispanic vote, and the next few years of working immigrant policy. Will the elections results improve chances of a guest worker program being enacted?
There are about 200 million eligible voters in the U.S. About 8.6% of them are Hispanic. The Hispanic population is booming, though more of it is underage compared to white and black populations. Between 2002 and 2005, The Pew Hispanic Center reports that the Hispanic population grew by 21.5% compared to 1.6% among whites, 7.4% among blacks, and 24.6% among Asians.
In 2005, Hispanic comprised at least 5% of eligible votes in 15 states: AZ, CA, CO, FL, HI, IL, MA, NV, NJ, NM, NY, RI, TX, UT and WY.
Democratic takeover of Senate and/or the House will shift power to those who agree with Bush’s guest worker program ideas. Would the prospect of a guest worker program improve if the Hispanic vote on November 7 was more dominant than in the past? I say yes, especially if Hispanic turnout suggests a pattern of increasing participation trending towards white levels of participation.
A recent Pew Hispanic Center study on the 2006 elections reports that Hispanics increased as a share of eligible voters from 7.4% in 2000 to 8.6% in 2006. There are now 17 million Hispanic citizens over the age of 18.
The big question is if the historically low rate of Hispanic registration among eligible voters will improve. According to the Center, in 2004 the registration rates among eligible voters were 58% for “Latinos”, 69% for blacks, and 75% for whites.
This November, if Latinos register according to 2004 patterns, there will be 10 million registered Latino voters. If they register at the 2004 white rate, there will be 12.3 million registered Latino voters.

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