The 2014 election held great possibilities for those of us who study Latina politics, both because Latina/o political participation in the 2012 election proved to be a decisive factor in the electoral outcomes of several battleground states and ultimately the reelection of President Obama, but equally because Latinas were driving the increased turnout and support for Democrats.
During the presidential elections of 2004-2012, there was evidence of a significant gender gap in Latina/o political attitudes and participation which is examined in Bejarano’s book, The Latino Gender Gap in U.S. Politics. Overall, Latinas demonstrated a modern gender gap, with more liberal political views and behaviors than their male counterparts. In other words, the gender gap among Latinas/os reflected a difference between Latinas and Latino males on thedepth of their support for Democratic candidates and issues and not on a partisan divide, as exists within the national gender gap among white voters. Latino Decisions has noted that both Latinas and Latinos overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates and issues, and the tracking data compiled over the 2012 elections suggested that more than 50 percent of both Latinas and Latinos consistently preferred Obama to Romney. This had far-reaching political implications for major political parties as they tried to mobilize increased political support from the Latina/o population.
The partisan gender gap for Latinas/os reached a high in the 2012 election, which was the highest gap among all racial/ethnic groups at 11 points.
There were also larger proportions of Latinas than Latino males that voted for Obama in both 2008 and 2012 (National Exit Poll). Therefore, this Latina/o partisan gender gap was most clearly evident in the 2012 Presidential election.
A closer analysis of this partisan gender gap shows that more Latinas reported a Democratic identity than Latino males in the 2012 Election Eve Poll. There were also significant gender gaps in Latinos’ reported electoral support of the Democratic Party in 2012. Latinas were more likely than Latino males to report high electoral support for both President Obama and the Democratic congressional candidates in the election (2012 Election Eve Poll).
Results from the 2014 Election Eve Poll suggests the continued presence of a Latina/o gender gap, particularly in competitive state races with a substantial Latina/o electorate. However, the pattern of voting differences between Latinas and Latino males took a slightly different form than 2012. In several competitive Gubernatorial and Senate races, Latinas continued to support….
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