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November 12, 2012

The emerging Latino voting bloc in Arizona

Latino voters in Arizona are gradually growing in absolute and percentage terms. A report issued earlier this year, Arizona’s Emerging Latino Vote (published by the Morrison Institute), lays out the trends. In this November’s Senate race, Democratic candidate Richard Carmona, received 45.8% of the vote, more than had been expected in the Summer. Six years from now, winner Jeff Flake will be facing a larger Latinos voting bloc.

According to long range projections of the growth in Latino voters, each year will cause the Latino voter share to increase by on average 0.5%. Latino voters were probably 12% of all voters this November. In six years Flake may likely be looking at an increase in the Latino voting percentage to 15%.

Hispanics now make up 30% of the state’s population. One third of Latino adults are not citizens. The Latino voting population is much younger than non-Latinos (the median Latino age is 25 vs. non-Hispanic whites at 44), suggesting lower voter turnout due to younger age. In 2010, 69% of vote-eligible Latinos voted vs. 8% for non-Hispanic whites.

Thus the actual Latino bloc of voters is probably 12% of actual voters, the percentage projected for 2012. Exit polling indicates that 74% voted for Obama.

Each year, more Latinos become eligible to vote – at a much faster rate than other groups. In 2010, 15% of registered voters were Latino. That is expected to grow to 25% in 2030.

In a June 2012 poll, only 9% of registered Latinos identified themselves as Republican.