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Study Projects Increase Participation in Hispanic Vote But Less than 4% of Electorate in Swing State

Study Projects Increase Participation in Hispanic Vote But Less than 4% of Electorate in Swing State

Photo: Center for Immigration Studies.

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A new study from the Center for Immigration Studies projects the share of Hispanic voters nationally and in battleground states for the upcoming 2012 election. Using Census Bureau data from prior election years and data collected this year we project that Hispanics will be 8.9 percent of the electorate in 2012 — a 1.5 percentage point increase from 7.4 percent in 2008.  The report also finds that Hispanics will comprise a somewhat smaller share of voters in battleground states than they do nationally.  However, there is significant variation in Hispanic shares across battleground states. 


The study can be found at:The Center for Immigration Studies

Steven Camarota, the Center’s Director of Research, notes, “While Hispanic voters are a small share of the electorate, in a close election they could decide the outcome.  Of course, the same is true of many other voting blocs, such as veterans or senior citizens.  It would a mistake to overemphasize race to the exclusion of other factors.”

National share of the vote:

We project that in November 2012 Hispanics will comprise 17.2 percent of the total U.S. population, 15 percent of adults, 11.2 percent of adult citizens, and 8.9 percent of actual voters

In 2012, non-Hispanic whites are expected to be 73.4 percent of the national vote and non-Hispanic blacks are expected to be 12.2 percent.

To place the Hispanic share of the electorate into perspective, eight percentage points of the Hispanic vote nationally equals slightly less than one percentage point of the non-Hispanic white vote.

The 8.9 percent Hispanic share of voters compares to veterans (12 percent), those with family incomes above $100,000 (18 percent), seniors 65 and older (19 percent), married persons (60 percent), and those who live in owner-occupied housing (80 percent).

In terms of voter turnout, we project that 52.7 percent (+/- 0.6) of eligible Hispanics will vote in the upcoming election, an increase from 49.9 percent in 2008 and a continuation of the past decade’s long upward trend.

The projected Hispanic voter participation rate of 52.7 percent compares to 66.1 percent for non-Hispanic whites and 65.2 percent for non-Hispanic blacks in 2008.

Share in Battleground States:

In the seven states listed by The Cook Political Report in July as “toss-ups”, we project that Hispanics will average 8.0 percent of voters in 2012, compared to 8.9 percent nationally. The seven toss-up states are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia.

In the four states listed by Cook as “leaning” toward one party or the other, the Hispanic vote will average 2.8 percent of the electorate in November. The four leaning states are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and North Carolina.

In the seven states Cook identifies as “likely” for one party or the other, Hispanics will average 9.8 percent of the vote. Excluding New Mexico, they will average 4.4 percent of voters in the remaining six “likely” states. The likely states are Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Maine, Minnesota, and New Mexico.

Taken together Hispanics will average 7.6 percent of the electorate across the “toss-up”, “leaning”, and “likely” states. If we combine the populations of these states and calculate the Hispanic share of the electorate, Hispanics are projected to be 6.6 percent of the vote.

The Hispanic share of voters varies significantly in the 18 battleground states. In 12 of the 18 states, Hispanics are projected to be less than 4 percent of the electorate (Virginia, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, and Maine). But in four of the states (New Mexico, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona), Hispanics will be more than 16 percent of the vote.

Non-Hispanic whites are projected to be slightly overrepresented (79.4 percent) in battleground states relative to their share of the national electorate. Like Hispanics, non-Hispanic blacks (9.4 percent) tend to be slightly underrepresented in battleground states.

Methodology: To project the Hispanic share of the population and their share of the vote we use the May Current Population Survey (CPS) from prior election years and from 2012. The CPS is collected monthly by the Census Bureau and is one of the nation’s primary sources of demographic information. We compare the May CPS to the November CPS Voting and Registration Supplement from prior election years to project the growth of the Hispanic electorate.  We used this same approach in August of 2010 to correctly project the Hispanic share of electorate voters in the 2010 mid-term election to within one-tenth of 1 percent.

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, research organization. Since its founding in 1985, the Center has pursued a single mission – providing immigration policymakers, the academic community, news media, and concerned citizens with reliable information about the social, economic, environmental, security, and fiscal consequences of legal and illegal immigration into the United States.