David McNew/Getty Images
A directional sign points the way to a polling place inside El Mercado de Los Angeles, a Mexico-style marketplace in East L.A. on November 6, 2012.
Exit polls are showing that overwhelming majorities of Latino and Asian American voters - more than 70 percent of each group - voted to re-elect President Barack Obama on Tuesday. Together with black voters, who reportedly supported Obama in even higher proportions, these voters of color are credited with carrying key states for Obama and ultimately assuring his victory over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Data so far has suggested that Latinos made up 10 percent of overall voters, a record number. At the same time, the non-Latino white percentage of the American electorate is on the decline. Does this election signal a tipping point in the influence of voters of color - or has that happened already?
Pollster Matt Barreto of the Latino Decisions firm has closely tracked the attitudes of Latino voters in the runup to the election. The firm has calculated that 75 percent of Latino voters - in the same range national exit polls have estimated so far - cast votes for Obama on Tuesday. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates from its exit poll analysis that Latinos voted 71 to 27 percent for Obama over Romney.
Angelenos voting at the Japanese Cultural Institute in Los Angeles on November 6th, 2012. As this country becomes more racially and ethnically diverse, the role of nonwhite voters in the election results has occupied more political speculation than in previous years.
Instead of the usual Multi-American news roundup this Election Day, here's a sampling of the many stories out there addressing voters of color, and how they figure into this year's election.
In recent months, political observers have suggested that Latinos and Asians could help swing the election, provided these voters turn out in large enough numbers. Black voters, meanwhile, have been called key to President Barack Obama's reelection. And Muslim voters of various backgrounds were recently polled as leaning toward Obama even as many remain undecided. Without further ado, a few of the election-related stories making the rounds today:
Latino vote for Obama could be historic high, poll says - Los Angeles Times The most recent voter tracking poll from the Latino Decisions firm indicates that 73 percent of Latino voters polled nationally planned to support President Obama. Twenty-four percent supported Republican candidate Mitt Romney, whose stance on immigration has hurt his standing with the Latino electorate. Three percent were undecided.
Voter materials at a polling place in Pasadena, Calif. Nov. 6, 2012
Voting is easier Tuesday in Los Angeles County for many Asian Americans who aren't fluent in English.
Earlier this year, L.A. County officials announced they would be adding five new Asian languages to their voter materials and bilingual poll assistance on election day. Hindi, the official (but far from only) language of India, is now on the sample ballot, along with Thai and Khmer, the language of Cambodia. There will also be bilingual poll workers fluent in Gujarati and Bengali, two other Indian languages, ready to assist voters Tuesday in selected precincts.
This is significant, politically and demographically. Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Thai and Khmer have joined several other Asian languages - Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and Tagalog - which are already provided for voters in Los Angeles County. It's a recognition of the growing political viability of Asian Americans, whose voter turnout has traditionally been low, but whose growing numbers in the United States can't be ignored.
A comprehensive new report examines various aspects of life for Asian Americans in the United States, a population whose rate of growth surpassed that of Latinos between 2000 and 2010.
Compiled by the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, the report draws from census data to examine political involvement, how Asian Americans are affected by immigration policies and other key issues. Among the highlights:
- The Asian American population in the United States now numbers more than 17 million, having grown 46 percent between 2000 and 2010
- The vast majority of Asian Americans in the United States live in Hawaii (57.4 percent), followed by California (14.9 percent)
- Sixty percent of Asian Americans are foreign-born, the highest foreign-born proportion of any racial group nationwide, and roughly one-third are limited in their English proficiency