Winning The Latino Vote In 2012: Obama Speaks At La Raza

on Monday, Jul. 25th

President Obama spoke at the annual conference of the National Council de la Raza in Washington today, in an effort to rally Latino voters for his re-election campaign. According to Univision News, a straw poll taken at the event of 547 people, 78 percent said they would vote for Obama if the election was today.

But that doesn’t mean conference attendees welcomed him with completely open arms.

When President Obama said he would not use an executive order to enact immigration reform, the crowd started chanting, “Yes you can!” and “Si se puede,” according to Univision News. Obama insisted that he would love to do things himself, but “that’s not how our democracy works.”

Republicans and Democrats have begun heavily courting the Latino vote for 2012. One reason behind that is the young age of the American Latino population. In 2008, only four out of ten Latino residents were estimated to be eligible voters because of their young age and citizenship status, according to the Brookings Institute. They write in 2008, three out of ten Latinos were under age 30, and only about a tenth were over the age of 65.

However, the number of eligible Latino voters is certainly growing. The Pew Hispanic Center reported on the 2010 Census data, “50.5 million Hispanics were counted by the 2010 Census, up from 35.3 million in 2000. Over the same decade, the number of Latino eligible voters—adults who are U.S. citizens—also increased, from 13.2 million in 2000 to 21.3 million in 2010.”

In addition, “In 2010, Latino college graduates had the highest voter turnout rate (50.3%) among Latino eligible voters, while young Latinos ages 18 to 29 had the lowest (17.6%),” according to Pew.

So while young age and citizenship status drove Latinos away from the polls before, Obama and other candidates are trying to bring them back in 2012.

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