By John Rosman, Fronteras Desk
The Latino vote that helped usher President Barack Obama's reelection continues to grow, but overall turnout lags behind other voting groups.
A new report by the Pew Research Center found that 48 percent of eligible Latino voters turned out to vote in 2012.
Although Latinos made up a larger share of the nation’s electorate in 2012, making up 8.4 percent of all voters, they dropped in total voting numbers, down from 12.1 million in 2008 to 11.2 million in 2012.
Pew’s Mark Lopez said part of it has to do with geography.
“Many of the campaigns reached out to Hispanics in states like Nevada, like Colorado, like Florida – states that were battleground states. But half of Hispanic voters live in two states alone: Texas and California, and neither was a battleground in 2012,” Lopez said.
In Arizona, 18 percent of those voting in November 2012 were Latino, the study showed. That was a 50 percent increase from the 2004 presidential election and 12.5 percent higher than in 2008.
Seventy-four percent of Arizona Latinos voted for Obama in 2012, up from 56 percent in 2008, the Pew figures showed. The 2012 Latino vote for Obama in Arizona outpaced the national figure, which Pew reported was 71 percent of Latinos for Obama. The figures were based on exit polling.
According to the Pew report, the highest voter turnout was among those with a college degree, and from Cuban Americans. Latinos under 30 were among the least likely to vote.
The vote is likely to double by 2030, with many Latinos reaching eligible voting age in the coming years. The median age of native-born Latinos in the U.S. is 18, while the median age of non-Latino whites is 47.
Fronteras Desk is a collaborative of public broadcasting entities in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas, including Arizona Public Media.