In 2008 Latino voters turned out in record number and voted overwhelmingly in favor of Democrat Barack Obama, providing the key margin in many states. However, as the 2010 midterm election rolls around many questions surround Latino enthusiasm for turning out to vote after two years of Democrat control. Little data suggests that Latinos will flip and vote Republican in large numbers, yet a real possibility is that Latino excitement with the Democrats has faded and turnout in 2010 could be low. We examined the top 60 most competitive U.S. House seats in 2010 (according to the Cook Report, 02/01/10) and matched each district to the latest Census data from 2008 on the percentage of the population that is Latino.
Overall, we identify 30 House seats in which Latino voter may well influence the final outcome. 18 districts have a Latino population over 10% and Latino voter are sure to play an important role, while an additional 12 districts have between 5 – 10% Latino population, and depending on how close the final vote is, Latino voters could prove crucial here as well.
It is incumbent on both Democrats and Republicans to take the Latino vote seriously, and to reach out to identify important policy initiatives to the Latino community….
In a recent Latino Decisions poll, we found that health care reform and comprehensive immigration reform were the top two legislative priorities for Latino voters going into 2010, however Congress and the Senate have faltered on both accounts. Are the Democrats to blame for not pushing ahead strongly enough, or are Republicans to blame for obstructing the legislation from moving forward? This will be up to Latino voters to decide, and in November 2010 they are poised to have a significant impact on the make-up of the U.S. House given their large numbers in as many as 30 competitive districts. In 2010, parties and candidates can not simply send out mailers with smiling pictures, they need to connect with the Latino community and give Latino voters a reason to turnout, and the clock is ticking…
60 Competitive U.S. House Seats in 2010 – sorted by % Latino within district