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Study expects Hispanic vote to be a factor in 2012 election

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A new study predicts that Hispanic voters will make up a higher percentage of the electorate in November than in 2008.

Nonetheless, the study by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies says that Hispanics will comprise a somewhat smaller share of voters in “toss-up” states, including Virginia, than they do nationally.

In terms of voter turnout, the center projects that 52.7 percent (with a margin of error of plus or minus 0.6 percent) of eligible Hispanics will vote in the upcoming election, an increase from 49.9 percent in 2008 and a continuation of the past decade’s long upward trend.

While Hispanic voters are a small share of the electorate, in a close election they could decide the outcome,” Steven Camarota, the Center’s Director of Research, said in a statement. “Of course, the same is true of many other voting blocs, such as veterans or senior citizens.”

Using Census Bureau data from prior election years and information collected this year, the center forecast that Hispanics will make up 8.9 percent of the electorate in 2012 — a 1.5 percentage point increase from 7.4 percent in 2008.

In the seven states listed by The Cook Political Report in July as “toss-ups”, the center says Hispanics will average 8 percent of voters in 2012, compared to 8.9 percent nationally. The seven toss-up states are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia.

The Hispanic share of voters, however,  varies significantly in 18 battleground states. In 12 of the 18 states, Hispanics are projected to be less than 4 percent of the electorate (Virginia, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, and Maine).

But in four of the states (New Mexico, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona), Hispanics will be more than 16 percent of the vote.

The projected Hispanic voter participation rate for 2012 percent compares with 66.1 percent for non-Hispanic whites and 65.2 percent for non-Hispanic blacks in 2008.

In 2012, non-Hispanic whites are expected to be 73.4 percent of the national vote and non-Hispanic blacks are expected to be 12.2 percent.

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