With only three months until the presidential election, Latino voters are center stage in the political debate. Latinos already comprise at least 5 percent of the adult citizen population in almost half of all states and more than 10 percent in 11 states. Moreover, they are a key part of the electorate in a number of battleground states such as Nevada, Colorado, New México, and Florida, and a segment of the population with the power to swing the election.
The infographic highlights the top 10 states with the highest concentration of potential voters—either eligible but unregistered Latino voters or green card holders that are eligible to become citizens and vote for the first time in November.* This infographic is the only place in which these two streams of potential voters have been compared side-by-side.
In 8 of the 10 states highlighted, the number of potential voters already outnumbers the margin by which either then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) or Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) won the state in 2008, in some cases far exceeding that margin.
Like all voters, these potential voters care about a variety of issues, particularly the state of the economy and jobs. But immigration is a deeply personal issue for them. These voters care about how the parties talk about immigration and recent immigration events have only solidified this fact: A recent Latino Decisions poll in five swing states found that on average 30 percent of Latino voters know someone in removal proceedings and a full 55 percent know someone who is undocumented. These numbers rise to as high as 41 percent and 74 percent, respectively, in Nevada, and 37 percent and 68 percent, respectively, in Arizona.
Two recent events in particular have energized Latino voters and illustrate just how important the immigration issue is to them.
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