While Hispanic Americans are typically reliably Democratic voters, they far from politically homogeneous. In fact, Hispanic Republicans made historic gains in the 2010 midterm elections. For the first time ever, three Latino candidates won top statewide offices, and they are all Republicans: New Mexico’s Governor-elect Susana Martinez, Nevada’s Governor-elect Brian Sandoval and Florida’s Sen.-elect Marco Rubio. Still, Latino voters in the 2010 elections largely sided with Democrats.
If it ignores the Latino community in the 2012 presidential race, the GOP could cede critical ground. States with large Hispanic populations, such as Florida, Nevada and New Mexico, are expected to be battleground states in the next election. This week’s Census report makes Florida and Nevada even more critical — both states won one more electoral college vote.
The Census won’t release the racial breakdown of their 2010 report until February or March, but the bureau did release some data from the American Community Survey indicating that the growth in some states could be attributable to growing Hispanic populations. The survey showed that there are more than 45 million Hispanics in the U.S., twice as many as 20 years ago. The Census predicts that by 2050, nearly one in three U.S. residents will be Hispanic.