Virginia and the Presidential Vote: more influenced by Hispanics and Asians

Virginia is increasingly a contested state in presidential elections, in part due to the rise of non-white eligible voters. This November, the percentage of eligible voters who are minority (Hispanic, Black and Asian), will be around 30% compared to 26% in 2008.

Between 2008 and 2014, eligible Hispanic voters as a share of all eligible voters rose from 3% to 4.6%. Eligible Asians rose from 3% to 5%. Eligible Blacks remained at 20%. Combined, eligible non-whites rose from 26% to 29%.

According to the NY Times, during the 2012 presidential election, when 71% of Virginia’s voters went to the polls, Obama carried 93% of the black vote, 64% of the Hispanic vote, and 66% of the Asian vote, according to exit polls.

Hispanics in Virginia are on average more formally educated than Hispanics in the country, notably in a much smaller share without a high school diploma (13% vs. 22%) and higher share of those with a college degree (27% vs. 16%). As for household income, 42% of Hispanic households in Virginia had incomes of $100,000 or more, vs. 23% nationwide.

Also, the potential Hispanic voting power has sharply increased. In 2014, Hispanics accounted for 4.6% of the eligible voters. 38% of the Hispanic population was eligible to vote, compared with 42% of the entire Hispanic population in the country. This is a marked improvement in Hispanic voting power in the state from 2008, when 2.7% of eligible voters were Hispanic, and 32% of Hispanics were eligible to vote. 32% of eligible Hispanic voters are naturalized citizens, rather than citizens at birth. (This is higher than Hispanics nationwide, at 25%).

In 2010, 6.4% of Virginians spoke Spanish as the primary language at home. Among Asians (Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese and Philippine), 2.5% spoken their native language at home.


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