Photo: Latino Vote for Obama
Latino support for President Obama was huge, with a record-breaking 75% of Latino voters nationwide (see below) casting their ballot for the President- the previous high for Latino voters was the 72% for Bill Clinton in 1996. Romney’s share of 23% was nowhere near the 38% his team identified as his “magic number” for Latinos nationally.
The Latino vote share numbers across key states were even more pronounced, with Latinos exceeding the national average of 75% in most of the battleground states, including a remarkable 87% in Colorado and 80% in Nevada. The 66% of Latinos who voted for Obama in Virginia, 58% in Florida, and 82% in Ohio were also critical to the overall outcome of the race. At the end of the day, we estimate that the Latino vote led to a net margin gain for President Obama of +5.4%, and a +2.3% bump in the national popular vote. Consequently, if Latinos had split their vote evenly (50/50) in this election, President Obama would have lost the national popular vote.
For the first time in American history, the Latino electorate has a legitimate claim of being nationally decisive!
What explains the huge numbers for Obama? Romney suffered from both an outreach problem to Latino voters as well as a policy agenda that just did not resonate with the Latino electorate. A robust 56% of Latino voters nationally did not feel that Romney “cares much” about the Latino community, with another 18% feeling as though the Romney campaign was “hostile” toward the Latino community. Conversely, 66% of Latinos indicated that President Obama “cares about” the Latino community.