Xavier Becerra (Congressman) gives expert video advice on: How many Latino voters are there?; What states have the most Latino voters?; Who makes up the Latino vote? and more...
How many Latino voters are there?
The number of Latino voters is increasing every year. In fact, the Latino community is the fastest-growing demographic of voters and it will be for quite some time. In terms of the overall number of votes, it's still only about 8% of the entire national vote but compared to what it was ten years ago, that's significant. It's growing dramatically. No population is growing as dramatically as the Latino voters. And so it will continue to expand. Now we represent as Latino Americans about 15% of the population. We represent, as I said about 8% of the vote. So there is a lot of room for growth. A lot of Latinos are not yet citizens, on the way to becoming citizens but not yet so they can't vote. We are the youngest demographic in the nation. So by a factor of about 8 years, we are younger than most of our peers. And so we have a lot of young Latinos who are not yet 18 years of age to be able to vote.
What states have the most Latino voters?
Now, when you talk about Latinos, you have to talk about them being American; they're everywhere, in every state you could think of. But certianly everyone knows they are concentrated principally in the very large states of California, New York, Florida, Texas, but New Mexico is fully 35% or so Latino - the entire state. Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and the southwestern states have heavy populations of Latinos, mostly of Mexican-American origin. But Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, you name it, we're everywhere and we're American.
How do you define the Latino community?
Latinos can be Puerto Rican, Cuban-American, Central American, Mexican-American, South American, been here for ten generations, been here three months. Some are very conservative in their social values. Some are very progressive in their economic values.
What portion of eligible Latino voters actually cast votes?
Americans who are Latino, who become citizens after emigrating to the US, vote in higher percentages than do native born Latinos who are born here in this country.
Do white voters fear Latino voting power?
I don't think it so much there's a fear its tears of recognition that their different interest. California interest is it New York interest in every case? Are you pro choice or you pro life? Where the stand the energy should we have gone through rock to find a war those of the issues that make us an electric with differences of the pinion. I don't think it so much breaks down based on gender or race.
Are Latino voters generally conservative or liberal?
For the most part I think Latinos on economic issues are very progressive, for the same reason that I think my parents are very progressive economically. They fought very hard, yet earned very little and so you want to know that people earn what they have and so I think most Latinos look at this and say, "You know, this station has a dream called the American dream, if you work very hard, you should be able to achieve it." And so economically I think Latinos as a whole are more progressively minded. In terms of some of their social values, I know that some people say that they are more conservative. I wouldn't say that they are so much conservative as much as I would say that they are family based. You oftentimes when you are not very wealthy, when you don't have a lot of financial means to do thing you have to depend on each other quite a bit within a family and so you begin to not only count on your family members but also do things for your family members, and you become very tight knit. So I think you find that on social values and social issues, Latinos tend to be very oriented towards family. On the issue of a woman's right to chose to have an abortion, I think you'll find that on the main, Latinos will say that we are very much against abortion but I think you'll find that a lot of Latinos will say, especially Latinas will say, "Wait a minute. I for the longest time had to put up with a man telling me what to do," and will say, "A woman would know best. I grew up in a very nurturing home. I'm not interested in having an abortion, but it that's what a woman chooses, I would like to let that woman decide." So I think that for the most part, and being a progressive Democrat, I would say that Latinos on the whole are progressive Democrats.