Upset Over Immigration Demagoguery, Latinos Turn Red States Blue

Our guest blogger is Henry Fernandez, a Senior Fellow at the Center For American Progress Action Fund working on state and municipal issues.

flags.gifAs has happened at different points throughout United States history, New Americans — immigrants and the children of immigrants — are changing the face of the electorate. And apparently they aren’t too happy with the way their communities are being treated. This may in the end decide the outcome of the presidential election.

In a report released today, the Immigration Policy Center points out that New Americans are big voting blocs in key swing states, including: 14.8% of the electorate in Nevada and 14% in Florida. IPC also notes that Latinos and Asians together account for 31.5% of all registered voters in New Mexico, 16.2% in Nevada, 12.6% in Florida, and 11.1% in Colorado.

Most daunting for those politicians who have chosen to scapegoat immigrants — according to a Pew Hispanic Center poll this summer, 75% of Latino voters view the immigration issue as important or very important.

And they plan to vote — a recent NALEO Educational Fund poll found that an astonishing 90% of Latinos in battleground states (Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and New Mexico) say they are certain to vote.

Why does this matter? The vote count gurus over at FiveThirtyEight.com rank Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico as top “tipping point states,” meaning a state that in a close national election would alter the outcome if decided differently. Both Pollster.com and FiveThirtyEight currently lists all of these swing states won in 2004 by Bush as leaning to Obama based on recent polling.

Why have these states and their 46 electoral votes moved? NALEO’s poll finds dramatically higher Latino support for Obama than the Latino vote for Kerry just four years ago.


Check out the full report here.