The media has discovered Hispanics. And they're in love. Add Chris Cillizza, Christian Science Monitor, Dave Wasserman, MSNBC, Others to those alerting us to the Republican Hispanic problem.
Having worked in Hispanic advertising for many years, I do find it funny that the MSM is acting as if 20-30 million Hispanics suddenly showed up in the U.S. There has been a steady increase for 20 years. Hispanics, however, aren't the force the MSM seems to think they are.
Because Hispanics don't vote. Some of the Hispanics aren't currently citizens and are unlikely to become citizens any time soon. So that isn't a vote to worry about. Yet, even setting them aside Hispanics just don't show up at the polls.
This chart shows how Hispanics, despite being 15.7% of the population, were roughly 9% of the electorate in 2008. In 2010 it was 8%. They were 8% in 2004 and 2006 and 7% in 2000. Despite being the driving force for U.S. population growth Hispanics aren't voting much more. Only 23% of Hispanics vote, while 42% of Blacks, and 45% of Whites do. Because many Hispanics are under 18, the numbers are a little better as a percentage of the voting age population. White people, on the other hand, show up to vote. The Democrats got roughly half the White vote in the 1990s, but they have dropped sharply in the last ten years.This isn't reported because getting Hispanics is cool and any party that goes after White people is racist.
The proclamation that the sky will be falling on California Republicans in 2012 ignores the light Hispanic turnout. Instead the pundits are proclaiming high Hispanic populations will doom the GOP.
If turnout in our sample district is similar to what it was in 2008, a high watermark for Hispanics, a 50% Hispanic population district is actually a district with 35% of the electorate being Hispanic. Such an electorate is winnable for a Republican getting around 35% of the Hispanic vote. That might not happen, but a 35% Hispanic electorate isn't one that's 50%.
The low turnout shows up in the vote totals. If you look at the 10 lowest voter turnout districts in California you'll see that 8 of them are in the top 10 most Hispanic districts.
Republicans undoubtably have some problems with the Hispanics right now. Will they continue to do so in the future? Predicting how the electorate will vote in 12-20 years when Hispanics might actually be a force is difficult. Voting patterns change a great deal. The Democrats' major appeal to Hispanics is "the racist Republicans hate you." That may work right now, but what happens if the immigration issue goes the way of "Don't Ask. Don't Tell?"
If Obama had done as badly as the Democrats did with Whites in 2010 he would've lost in 2008. Democrats having been turning off White more and more each year. That's a far bigger factor in 2012 than the Hispanic vote.