Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Why Don't Hispanics Vote?

The large and rapidly growing Hispanic population has the potential to upend the nation's politics. But so far Hispanics have failed to live up to the potential. In the 2012 presidential election, only 48 percent of Hispanic citizens went to the polls, according to Census Bureau voter data. This compares with a voting rate of 66 percent for blacks and 64 percent for non-Hispanic whites.

Why don't Hispanics vote? That question has an answer. After every presidential and congressional election the Census Bureau surveys registered voters and asks why those who did not vote failed to show up at the polls. A look at the answers provided by Hispanics reveals why they are less likely to vote.
  • It's not for lack of interest. Only 15 percent of Hispanic non-voters said they did not vote because they weren't interested versus 16 percent of all non-voters.  
  • It's not because they don't care about the candidates or issues. Only 9 percent of Hispanic non-voters said they did not vote for this reason versus 13 percent of all non-voters. 
  • It might be their jobs. Nearly one in four Hispanic non-voters (23 percent) said they could not get to the polls because they were too busy or had a schedule conflict versus a smaller 19 percent of all non-voters.
A look at the data reveals that adults aged 25 to 44 are most likely say they are too busy to vote. A large share of Hispanics are in that age group and many toil long hours in low-wage jobs, making work schedules a bigger obstacle for the potential Hispanic voter.

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