Latino voters grow in number, prize jobs and education

Voters go to the polls for Super Tuesday primaries in the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Boyle Heights on February 5, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

 The number of Latinos eligible to vote grew by 20 percent, or 4 million people, since 2008, says a new survey by the Pew Hispanic Center. It found the number of actual ballot-casters has hit a record high, each of the last 4 cycles.

This year, Latinos will make up an estimated nine percent of the electorate, projects the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

“That pattern of growth is going to continue through the next decade, and the decade after that,” says Mark Hugo Lopez of the Pew Hispanic Center. “All the way into 2050.”

The Pew survey finds Latinos prefer President Obama over Mitt Romney by 42 percentage points in battleground states; 49 points in the others.

What gets Hispanic voters going? Jobs and the economy, and education are the top two in the poll. Immigration trails behind.

“Hispanics, more than the general public, say you need a college degree to succeed in life today,” Lopez says. “And that’s partiucarly true for young Latinos. Going to college is one of the things that many Latinos told us is the first thing their parents want them to do.”

Forty-five percent of Latino respondents declared themselves optimistic about their financial future, up from 27 percent in 2008.

And more Hispanics say they’re satisfied about the country’s direction compared to the general public. The margin is 45 percent to 28 percent.

 

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.

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