Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Latino voters less likely to turn out for November election

California Voters Participate In The State's Pivotal Primary

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Voters go to the polls for Super Tuesday primaries in the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Boyle Heights on February 5, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. An opinion survey indicates that Latino voters prefer the Democratic presidential ticket over the Republican candidates by a 3-to-1 margin this year, but it also indicates that many of poll respondents may sit out this November's election.

Latino voters say they like President Obama better than Mitt Romney by a three-to-one margin. That number has remained stable throughout the election cycle. It demonstrates a larger preference than four years ago when Latino voters picked Barack Obama over John McCain by more than two to one. 

But a new survey raises the question: will Latinos turn out to vote?

One in four registered Latino voters in California told the Pew Hispanic Center they may sit out this election, despite efforts by Democrats and Republicans to snag more Latino support. Both parties are investing in Spanish-language media and sending Latino surrogates onto the campaign trail.

Mark Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center, said Latinos "are not quite paying as much attention to the election or are not as certain they're going to vote as the general public."

Among all registered voters, nine of 10 say they’re “absolutely certain” they’ll vote this November. 

But saying that doesn’t make it so. In the presidential election four years ago, somebody stayed home: about eight of 10 California voters cast ballots. 

Lopez says surveys rely on self-reporting. "It could be that folks are not necessarily telling us the truth," he said.  "They’re telling us what is socially desirable."

California has the largest Latino voting population in the country.  One in four Latino voters in the United States lives in California. 

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