How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The so-called Latino voter 'sleeping giant': Still asleep?

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Top 10 states with the most untapped potential voters

We've heard the overused "sleeping giant" reference often to refer to the Latino electorate, that which is composed of far more eligible voters - and people eligible for citizenship who can't yet vote - than the number of Latinos who actually hit the polls. This giant has also supposedly awakened a few times in recent election years, as turnout has improved. But not really.

The Center for American Progress has put together an interactive map and graphic list that starkly illustrates just how few Latino U.S. citizens who could be voting aren't doing so, along with how many legal permanent residents there are who could become citizens and vote, but have not.

In California, for example, it's estimated that there are more than 2 million Latino U.S. citizens who aren't registered to vote, and more than 2.3 million legal permanent residents who are eligible for citizenship but have not taken that step. The same holds true for Texas: More than 2.1 million unregistered Latino citizens, and close to 900,000 LPRs eligible for citizenship.


A science blogger on the 'socially conservative' Latino voter

It isn't every day that science bloggers write about Latino voters' attitudes, so a recent post on this topic from Discover Magazine's Razib Khan caught my eye.

In his Gene Expression blog, Khan posted the results of some queries that he ran on Latinos' attitudes on "a range of 'hot-button' social issues" post-2000 in the General Social Survey, or GSS, which measures social trends.

Khan concluded that while the results can be used to support the argument that Latinos are socially conservative, "they are not of the magnitude or direction of difference that one finds when comparing evangelical white Protestants to other whites, or even blacks to whites," and that this makes the Latinos-are-social-conservatives argument somewhat misleading.

The entire post can be read here.


A reading (and listening) list for the Florida primary

Photo by Calsidyrose/Fickr (Creative Commons)

It may or may not be a stretch to call it "the Latino primary," as some have called it, but there's no question that Florida's sizeable and evolving Latino electorate will play a big role in determining whether Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (the likely winner) or Newt Gingrich wins today's primary election in the Sunshine State.

As they and the other GOP candidates have spent the past two weeks wooing Florida's Latinos, a good part of the media discussion has revolved around immigration and how much it matters to Latino voters, and whether the harsh rhetoric seen earlier in the campaign could cost the party in November. There are broader questions, such as whether Florida's changing Latino voter profile will once again favor President Obama, who has been struggling with Latinos, or the GOP, which is struggling even more. Nationwide, even as Obama's Latino approval ratings slip, does a Republican candidate stand a chance with Latino voters in the fall?


Report charts aspects of Asian American life in the U.S., including political involvement

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


Are Latino voters truly liberal at heart?

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Latino voters at a polling place in Bell, California, November 2010

A short post yesterday highlighted a national poll of Latino registered voters who said by a large majority that they'd rather raise taxes on the wealthy than have government programs eliminated to ease the national debt. So what does that tell us about Latinos politically?

The Latino Decisions polling firm, which conducted the survey along with Spanish-language media publisher impreMedia, posted a paper on its website today with this conclusion as its title: "It's True: Latinos are Liberals, and Other Important Matters."

It's not a conclusion that would go down well with high-ranking Latino conservatives in state and federal office, or for that matter, a good chunk of the older population of Miami. Even out west, where the Mexican American majority skews left, there are many who remain socially conservative. In the 2010 general election, 60 percent of Latinos voted for Democratic candidates in congressional district races; 38 percent voted for Republicans, no small number.