Friday, November 14, 2008

Hispanic Voters in North Carolina

I've had several people ask me about the impact of the Hispanic vote in North Carolina this election. My answer is that it is still not a huge factor but becoming more and more so by the year.

The North Carolina exit poll showed Hispanics as making up 3% of the electorate this year. That is up from just 1% in 2004. There were not enough Hispanic respondents to break down who their support went to, but Virginia might be a good place to look to get an idea and they supported Barack Obama 65-34 there. In that state their share of the vote increased from 3% in 2004 to 5% this year.

The emerging influence of Hispanic voters in the state could have a major impact on keeping the state 'purple' moving forward. Let's say that in 2016 the Democrats nominate a white candidate and black turnout goes back to a more normal 20% rather than the 22-23% it was this year. But the Hispanic share of the electorate increases another 2% in both 2012 and 2016 to the point where they make up 7% of the vote. Using the breakdown of how each racial group voted this year, with an electorate that is 70% white, 20% black, 7% Hispanic, and 3% other races Obama would still win by about half a point. That's an indication that the emerging Hispanic vote in the state will make it possible for Democrats to win here at the Presidential level even without historic black turnout.

This will be an important trend to track in North Carolina politics moving forward.

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