The United States is undergoing a historic demographic shift, with people of color expected to make up a majority of the population by 2044. Despite the seemingly long trajectory of these changes, the political implications are already being felt. The most significant of these shifts is the sharp increase in the number of Latino voters and their share of the electorate. In the 2012 presidential election, Latino voters—71 percent of whom supported President Barack Obama—helped create a firewall for President Obama in key states. In Colorado, for example, the rising share of Latino voters was enough to win the state for Democrats despite white voters’ support for President Obama dropping by 6 percentage points from 2008.
The rising share of Latino voters in key states may have an even more significant impact on the 2016 presidential election, especially if voter turnout rates are high. To gain a better understanding of the growing Latino influence, the Center for American Progress Action Fund conducted an electoral simulation of the six states with the largest projected share of Latino eligible voters in 2016 and for which 2012 exit polling data are available.
In Nevada, Latino voters could make up more than a fifth of all voters, spelling trouble for Republicans. If Democrats are able to hold onto 2012 levels of support from voters of color and turnout rates remain the same in 2016 (Simulation 1), the Democratic margin of victory in Nevada could increase nearly 3 percentage points. Even if Republicans are able to regain their higher support levels from voters of color from 2004 as well as their high support levels from white voters from 2012 (Simulation 3), Democrats would still have a three-point margin of victory.
This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe. ‘Like’ CAP Action on Facebook and ‘follow’ us on Twitter