Photo: Pew Hispanic Research on 2012 Vote
Latino registered voters prefer President Barack Obama over Republican challenger Mitt Romney by 69% to 21% and express growing satisfaction with the direction of the nation and the state of their personal finances, according to a new Pew Research nationwide survey of 1,765 Latinos by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. Latino registered voters are somewhat less certain than non-Hispanics that they will vote in this election, however.
Obama’s current lead over Romney among Hispanics has barely budged throughout the 2012 campaign and is larger than in the 2008 election, when he received 67% of the Hispanic vote to 31% for Republican John McCain. Since then, the Latino electorate has grown in size and importance. Today, 23.7 million Hispanics are eligible to vote, an increase of more than 4 million since 2008. Hispanics now account for a record 11.0% of the nation’s eligible electorate, up from 9.5% in 2008.
The new survey also finds a sharp rise in the past year in the share of Latinos who identify the Democratic Party as the one that has more concern for Latinos. Some 61% say this now, up from 45% in 2011. Just 10% say this about the Republican Party, down from 12% in 2011.
With the turnout rate of eligible Latino voters historically lagging that of other groups, the new survey finds that 77% of Latino registered voters say they are “absolutely certain” they will vote this year. By comparison, 89% of all registered voters say the same in a separate Pew Research Center survey of the general public taken at the same time. Likewise, 61% of Latino registered voters say they have thought “quite a lot” about the upcoming presidential election, compared with 70% of registered voters in the general public.
At the same time, however, fully two-thirds (67%) of Latino adults say they believe the Latino vote will have a “major impact” on determining who wins this year’s election.
The survey also finds:
Fully 97% of all Latino registered voters say they are confident they have the identification they will need to vote on Election Day. A nearly identical 95% of Latino registered voters in the 11 states that have laws requiring photo identification in order to cast a ballot have the same view.
Education, jobs and the economy, and health care are the top issues for Hispanic registered voters. Some 55% of registered voters say the issue of education is extremely important to them, followed by 54% who cite jobs and the economy, and 50% who cite health care.
About a third (34%) of Hispanic registered voters say immigration is extremely important to them personally; similar shares say the same about the federal budget deficit (36%) and taxes (33%).
Nearly nine-in-ten (89%) adult Latinos say they approve of President Obama’s recently announced policy that allows unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to remain in the country and apply for temporary work permits if they meet certain criteria. Among Latino registered voters, 86% say they approve of the program.
Three-in-ten (31%) Hispanic adults say they know someone who has applied for the new deferred action program. One-in-four (26%) Hispanic adults say they personally know someone who has been deported or detained by the federal government for immigration reasons in the past 12 months.
The report explores Latinos’ views and attitudes about the 2012 presidential election. It is based on findings from a national bilingual survey of 1,765 Latino adults, including 903 registered voters, conducted from September 7 to October 4, 2012.
The report, “Latino Voters Support Obama by 3-1 Ratio, But Are Less Certain than Others about Voting,” authored by Mark Hugo Lopez, Associate Director, Pew Hispanic Center, and Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, Research Associate, Pew Hispanic Center, is available at the Pew Hispanic Center’s website, www.pewhispanic.org.
The Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, is a nonpartisan, non-advocacy research organization based in Washington, D.C. and is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.