Latino Voters in the 2012 Election

Latinos voted for President Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney 71% to 27%, according to an analysis of exit polls by thePewHispanicCenter, a project of thePewResearchCenter.

Obama’s national vote share among Hispanic voters is the highest seen by a Democratic candidate since 1996, when President Bill Clinton won 72% of the Hispanic vote.

The Center’s analysis also finds that Latinos made up 10% of the electorate, as indicated by the national exit poll, up from 9% in 2008 and 8% in 2004. The Center’s exit poll analysis also shows that as a group, non-white voters made up 28% of the nation’s electorate, up from 26% in 2008.

Hispanics made up a growing share of voters in three of the key battleground states in yesterday’s election—-Florida,ColoradoandNevada. Hispanics made up 17% of the electorate inFlorida, up from 14% in 2008. Obama carriedFlorida’s Hispanic vote 60% to 39%. InColorado, Hispanics made up 14% of voters, up from 13% in 2008. Obama carried the Hispanic vote there 75% to 23%. Among voters inNevada, the Hispanic share was 18%, up from 15% in 2008. Obama wonNevada’s Hispanic vote 70% to 25%. Obama’s Hispanic vote was up from2008 inFloridaandColorado, but down inNevada.

Among Latino voters, support for Obama was strong among all major demographic sub-groups. However, there was a gender gap among Hispanics as there was among the electorate as a whole. Obama carried Hispanic women with 76% of the vote and Hispanic males with 65%.

The analysis of exit polls in this report is limited to 12 states. These states areArizona,California,Colorado,Florida,Illinois,Nevada,New Mexico,North Carolina,Ohio,Pennsylvania,Virginia andWisconsin.

The report, “Latino Voters in the 2012 Election,” authored by Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director, and Paul Taylor, director, is available at the Pew Hispanic Center’s website,

For more on the changing demographics in the United States, see a new commentary released today by the Pew Social & Demographics Trends project. The commentary, “A Milestone En Route to a Majority Minority Nation,” notes that by 2050 the minority groups that carried President Obama to victory yesterday are on track to become a majority of the nation’s population, and that the Hispanic share of the U.S. population could be as high as 29%, up from 17% now.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Romney’s lurch to the right on immigration destroyed his chances of winning the White House.  Meanwhile, President Obama leaned into the issue by protecting DREAMers, a move that mobilized Latino voters without turning off swing voters.  The result was that Obama beat Romney by a whopping 52% margin among Latinos – the largest spreadin recent history.  The implication is that, in the next Congress,immigration reform will be a priority – for both parties.  As David Gergenremarked on CNN on Election Day: ‘The Democrats want it and the Republicans now need it.’”


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