The Myth of Hispanic Voting


As Latinos become more assimilated into American society, their participation rates may increase—but their voting patterns will probably change as well. That’s the viewpoint of Steven Malanga, in a column written at City Journal.
In his piece, Malanga writes, “One recent analysis warns that Latinos’ share of the population by 2050 will be so large as to permanently damage Republicans’ prospects. Such scenarios, however, assume a static electorate that, in 40 years, votes the same way it does today. If in 1940, say, I had constructed a similar chart projecting the growth rate of the country’s Italian-American population, based on its having a higher birthrate than that of the Anglo-American population, I could have issued the same warning to Republicans. Americans of Italian descent were voting heavily Democratic back then. By 1980, they had become a key component of the Reagan coalition.”
Malanga adds, “Most of the analyses that I’ve read begin by noting the rapid growth of America’s Hispanic population. But one-third of adult Hispanics are not U.S. citizens and consequently can’t vote. Even Latinos who are citizens don’t vote as reliably as whites or blacks do, and as a result, their population growth rate doesn’t translate into commensurate voting power. According to U.S. Census data for the 2010 midterm elections (the most recent national data available), adult Hispanics numbered 32.5 million in the U.S. population, but only 10.9 million were registered to vote and only 6.6 million actually voted (up from 5.6 million in the 2006 midterms).
“By contrast, of the 155.5 million adult white residents in the United States in 2010, 104 million were registered to vote and 74.3 million did vote. In other words, nearly half of the country’s adult whites participated in the 2010 elections; only 20 percent of adult Latinos did.”