In the days following President Barack Obama’s re-election, in last November’s election, headlines across the country declared there had been a record Hispanic voter turnout. The same headlines said because of that record turnout Obama had been re-elected.
An era of voter apathy amongst Hispanics was said to have ended along with the presidential hopes of Mitt Romney and the hopes of Republican Party candidates.
Figures showed Obama won 71% and Romney just 27% of the Hispanic vote. Newspapers around the nation said that Hispanics were now a force in American politics and had the power to decide election outcomes.
However, a recently released reported from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that Hispanic voter turnout for the 2012 election was 48% and was proportionately lower by close to 2% than in the presidential election of 2008, when the turnout was 49.9%.
The actual number of Hispanic voters was higher by close to 1.4 million or a total of 11.2 million, the report by the Census Bureau attributed the increase in voter turnout to population growth. Hispanics now form the fastest growing demographic group in the nation.
The report said the number of Hispanic voters, deciding not to cast their ballot during the 2012 election, increased by 2.3 million to a total of 12.1 million, while in 2008 it was 9.8 million.
The new numbers from the census bureau undermine the idea pushed by leaders in the Hispanic community and advocacy groups that hailed the elections in 2012 as the start of a new era of Hispanic engagement in the electorate.
The data shows that for just the first time America’s black voters voted at a rate that was higher than whites in last November’s election.