LOS ANGELES, CA -– An in-depth analysis by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund of adjusted exit poll data published by CNN demonstrates the large surge in Latino turnout nationwide and in projected battleground states helped reshape the political map in this election.
Overall, exit polls suggest that between 8% and 9% of all voters in the general election were Latino. With more than 122 million voters participating in the election, the NALEO Educational Fund estimates that between 9.6 and 11 million Latino voters cast ballots this past Tuesday, making it the largest turnout of Latino voters in history. The census reported 7.6 million Latinos voters in the 2004 Presidential Election.
While the race to capture the 270 electoral votes needed to win the Presidency turned into a landslide, the Latino vote nevertheless had a significant impact in reshaping the political map by helping decide the outcome of several key “battleground” states carried by President Bush in 2004. These states are also likely to be critical in 2012 electoral strategies. In Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, and even Virginia the Latino vote played a decisive role in helping Democrats put these states in the “win” column.
- In Colorado and New Mexico, President-elect Barack Obama won by a margin of approximately 140,000 votes in each state, while more than 200,000 Latino voters in these states cast a ballot for President-elect Obama. Were no Latino votes cast, both Colorado and New Mexico and their respective Electoral College votes would have gone to Senator McCain.
- Florida, which voted overwhelmingly in support of President Bush in 2004 and is home to the largest number of registered Latino Republicans, was carried by President-elect Obama by a margin of 191,560 votes. Approximately 634,500 Latinos cast their ballot for the President-elect.
- Virginia’s growing Latino electorate – approximately 170,000 Latinos cast a vote in the 2008 general election – voted overwhelmingly in support of President-elect Obama. Although the total Latino voters supporting Obama (111,000) did not exceed his margin of victory in the state (155,165), their votes were nonetheless critical in his success.
The above analysis is based upon revised exit polls from CNN, current as of 8am PST, 11/7/2008, available at http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#USP00p1. Exit polls, although based upon scientific survey methodologies, are nonetheless sample-derived estimates that may not precisely represent the actual vote.