Introduction: This study examines citizenship, registration, and voting patterns among Latinos in the 2000 and 2004 Presidential Elections.
Methods: Data on Latinos and other racial/ethnic groups were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa. Cases in the dataset were weighted and analyzed to produce population estimates.
Results: There is no doubt that the Hispanic population in the United States has consistently grown in the last two decades and continues to be the largest growing minority group within the United States. According to the 2004 census, Hispanics outnumbered Blacks by almost five million persons. This fact gave way to a lot of discussion and optimism about the new importance and possible role of the Latino vote for the coming elections. Yet the numbers presented by the Current Population Survey (comparing 2000 and 2004) show a different picture. Despite continued growth in the Hispanic population, this has not translated into major political power.
Discussion: Despite major growth in the population of Hispanics, this growth is not mirrored in the number of citizens eligible to vote. Many of the children that have contributed to the growth of the population will not be eligible to vote within the next 10 years. Rates of voter registration for Hispanics remains consistently lower than that of whites and black voters. Although Hispanics are according to the CPS registering to vote in larger numbers than Asians. Once Hispanic citizens are registered to vote, they are most likely to vote on Election Day with over an over 80% participation rate. Although Hispanic voting political power may not be able to visibly affect the 2008 presidential elections, it may affect local elections according to changes in the demographics of particular geographical regions.