A record 23.7 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the 2012 presidential election, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. This is up by more than 4 million, or 22%, since 2008, when 19.5 million Latinos were eligible to vote.1
Due to their ongoing population growth, Latinos comprise a greater share of the nation’s eligible voters than they did just a few years ago—11.0% this year, up from 9.5% in 2008 and 8.2% in 2004 (Lopez and Taylor, 2009).
However, the turnout rate of eligible Latino voters has historically lagged that of whites and blacks by substantial margins. In 2008, for example, 50% of eligible Latino voters cast ballots, compared with 65% of blacks and 66% of whites (Lopez and Taylor, 2009).
Also, despite Latino population growth, the number of Latinos who said they are registered to vote fell by about 600,000 between 2008 and 2010, according to Census Bureau data. This was the only significant decline in the number of Latino registered voters in the past two decades.2
There is not yet any nationwide data on Latino voter registration levels so far in 2012. In the only four states that report such records by ethnicity—Alabama,Florida, Georgia andNorth Carolina—the 2012 registration levels of Hispanics have already surpassed the 2008 levels. However, these states are not necessarily representative of the nation as a whole; more so than most other states, they have experienced very rapid growth in their Hispanic population.