December 9, 2016
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Political Power Of Immigrants, Children Growing

 The Growing Political Power of Immigrants and their Children

WASHINGTON - At a time when federal, state, and local elections are often decided by small voting margins—with candidates frequently locked in ferocious competition for the ballots of those “voting blocs” that might turn the electoral tide in their favor—one large and growing bloc of voters has been consistently overlooked and politically underestimated: New Americans.  This group of voters and potential voters includes not only immigrants who have become U.S. citizens (Naturalized Americans), but also the U.S.-born children of immigrants who were raised during the current era of large-scale immigration from Latin America and Asia which began in 1965 (the Post-1965 Children of Immigrants).  These immigrants and their children have a powerful and highly personal connection to the modern immigrant experience that most other Americans do not.  It’s one thing to hear family stories about a grandfather or great-grandfather coming to the United States during the much-romanticized “Ellis Island” era of immigration from Europe that ended decades ago.  It’s quite another to belong to a family that is experiencing first-hand the political and economic realities of immigration today.  The ranks of registered voters who are New Americans, or Latino or Asian, have been growing rapidly this decade and are likely to play an increasingly pivotal role in elections at all levels in the years to come, particularly in battleground states like Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.  As public opinion polls reveal, anti-immigrant political rhetoric is likely to motivate many New Americans to cast ballots, but is unlikely to win many votes for candidates perceived as anti-immigrant.

The report is displayed below:

 

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New American, Latino, and Asian Voters at the National Level

The electoral power of New American voters is significant

  • There were 15 million New American registered voters in 2008

New Americans were 10.2 percent of all registered voters

There were 15.0 million New Americans registered to vote in 2008, totaling 10.2 percent of all registered voters (see Table 1 and Figure 1).

  • 9.3 million were Naturalized Americans.
  • 5.7 million were Post-1965 Children of Immigrants.

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New Americans were 10.0 percent of actual voters

13.1 million New Americans voted in 2008, representing 10.0 percent of all those who voted (see Table 1 and Figure 1).

  • 8.3 million were Naturalized Americans.
  • 4.8 million were Post-1965 Children of Immigrants.

The electoral power of Latino and Asian voters is significant

  • There were 15.6 million Latino and Asian registered voters in 2008

Latinos and Asians were 10.7 percent of all registered voters 

Together, Latinos and Asians constituted 15.6 million, or 10.7 percent, of all registered voters in 2008 (see Table 2 and Figure 2).

  • 11.6 million Latinos accounted for 7.9 percent of all registered voters.
  • 4.0 million Asians accounted for 2.8 percent of all registered voters.

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Latinos and Asians were 10.1 percent of actual voters

Together, Latinos and Asians accounted for 13.2 million, or 10.1 percent, of all persons who cast a ballot in 2008 (see Table 2 and Figure 2).

  • 9.7 million Latinos comprised 7.4 percent of all voters.
  • 3.5 million Asians comprised 2.6 percent of all voters.

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The electoral power of New Americans, Latinos, and Asians is growing fast

The number of New American registered voters increased by 7.5 million between 1996 and 2008

The number of New American registered voters rose by 7.5 million between 1996 and 2008—an increase of 101.5 percent (see Table 3 and Figure 3).

  • Registered voters who were Naturalized Americans increased by 4.1 million—an increase of 79.9 percent.
  • Registered voters who were Post-1965 Children of Immigrants increased by 3.4 million—an increase of 151.1 percent.

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During the twelve years between the Presidential elections of 1996 and 2008, the New American share of registered voters increased by 4.4 percentage points.  Conversely, the share of registered voters comprised of the rest of the population declined by 4.4 percentage points (see Figure 4).

  • In 1996, New Americans were 5.8 percent of those registered to vote.
  • By 2008, New Americans were 10.2 percent of registered voters (see Figure 5).

 

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The number of Latino and Asian registered voters grew by 6.9 million between 1996 and 2008

The number of Latino and Asian registered voters increased by 6.9 million between 1996 and 2008 (see Table 4 and Figure 6).

  • Latino registered voters increased by 5.0 million (an increase of 76.6 percent).
  • Asian registered voters increased by 1.9 million (an increase of 87.9 percent).

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Latinos and Asians combined accounted for 10.7 percent of all registered voters in 2008 (see Figure 7).

  • Latinos were 7.9 percent of registered voters.
  • Asians were 2.8 percent of registered voters.

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Between 1996 and 2008, the Latino share of registered voters increased by 2.8 percentage points and the Asian share by 1.1 percentage points.  In contrast, the non-Latino white share declined by 5.5 percentage points (see Figure8).

 

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New American, Latino, and Asian Voters in Battleground States

New Americans, Latinos, and Asians are pivotal voting blocs in some battleground states

The New American share of registered voters is well above the national average in some battleground states 

In certain states—including battlegrounds of the 2008 election—the New American share of registered voters is well above the 2008 national average of 10.2 percent.  In these states, New Americans exercise critical electoral power as a mainstream voting group and not as marginal players whose votes are crucial only in close elections.  In order to get elected in these states, a candidate must obtain significant support from New Americans.

New American voters have the greatest electoral power in California, where they accounted for 28.9 percent of all registered voters in 2008. However, New Americans comprise a significant share of registered voters in other electorally important states as well: Arizona (9.7 percent of registered voters in 2008), Florida (18.8 percent), Illinois (10.0 percent), Nevada (15.1 percent), New Jersey (18.8 percent), New York (17.5 percent), and Texas (11.8 percent)(see Figure 9 and Appendix 1).


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The New American share of registered voters was lower than the national average in battleground states such as Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Virginia.  But, in a close election, New American voters can be pivotal even in these states.

The Latino and Asian share of registered voters is well above the national average in some battleground states 

States with relatively high shares of New American registered voters often have Latino and Asian shares of registered voters that are significantly above the 2008 national average of 10.7 percent: Florida (16.8 percent of registered voters in 2008), New Jersey (15.4 percent), New York (13.3 percent), Arizona (15.7 percent), Nevada (15.9 percent), and California (32.2 percent) (see Figure 10, Figure 11, and Appendix 2).

 

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However, there are other states where, despite a comparatively low New American share of registered voters, the Latino and Asian share is relatively high: Colorado (11.4 percent of registered voters in 2008), New Mexico (38.7 percent), and Texas (25.8 percent) (see Figure 10, Figure 11, and Appendix 2).

 

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The Latino and Asian share of registered voters is lower than the national average in other battleground states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Virginia.  But their numbers are sufficient to swing a close election in these states.

The electoral power of New Americans, Latinos, and Asians is growing fast in battleground states

The share of New American registered voters is increasing in nearly every battleground state

The New American share of registered voters increased in nearly every battleground and other key state during the twelve years between the Presidential elections of 1996 and 2008 (see Figures 12 and 13).

 

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  • In some states, the New American share of registered voters grew at rates well above the national average of 4.4 percentage points: California (13.6 percentage points), Florida (8.7 percentage points), Nevada (10.0 percentage points), and New Jersey (7.0 percentage points).

STORY TAGS: HISPANIC , LATINO , MEXICAN , MINORITY , CIVIL RIGHTS , DISCRIMINATION , RACISM , DIVERSITY , LATINA , RACIAL EQUALITY , BIAS , EQUALITY

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