State of Latino Electorate
AZ Latinos: A Growing Share of All Votes Cast
Arizona’s Latino population continues to increase its electoral power, in the past two AZ gubernatorial/mid-term elections (as well as the 2008 and 2012 Presidential Elections), Latino voters have represented a growing percentage of all ballots cast. That trend is expected to continue in the 2016 Presidential Election.
In the 2006 midterm election, Latino voters accounted for 9 percent of all votes cast, according to county and state election records. In the 2010 and 2014 midterm election, Latinos represented 12% of all votes cast statewide. In the 2012 Presidential Election, Latinos were a record 17% of all voters in Arizona.
Looking ahead to 2016, for the first time more than one million Latinos could be eligible to register to vote in Arizona, and Latinos could make up more than a half million of the final votes on Election Day and account for one out of every five voters.
Latino Voter Impact on Local and Municipal Races
In local elections, Latino voters have had an increased effect. In 2011, Latino voters are credited with playing a large role in the defeat of then Senate President Russel Pearce, who gained notoriety by authoring the controversial Senate Bill 1070. That year in the Phoenix Municipal Election, Latino voter turnout increased three-fold over the previous mayoral election, and Daniel Valenzuela was elected in City Council District 5 while Latino voter turnout increased five-fold over the previous mayoral election.
Four years later, Latino turnout held steady as Phoenix voters overwhelmingly re-elected Mayor Greg Stanton and passed Proposition 104, a vote that increased city-wide investment in the transportation infrastructure.
Latino Voter Impact and
Arizona’s Competitive Statewide Races
The role and influence of Latino voters this election cycle could prove decisive in competitive races. According to an analysis of the Latino vote in Arizona by Latino Decisions, with even a conservative estimate of 4% growth (taking prior increases, Census voting data trends, and population projections in to account) in the Arizona eligible Latino electorate would mean over one million Latinos will be eligible to cast a ballot in the 2016 election. Table 2 illustrates that even if Latino turnout remained at 2012 levels in 2016, an additional 12,000 Latinos would vote on Election Day versus the previous presidential election. If turnout were to match the 2012 statewide average of 55%, there will be 166,500 more Latino voters, thereby passing the margin of victory of the 2012 U.S. Senate Race. This demonstrates the power of mobilizing the Latino vote in Arizona.
The influence of Arizona’s Latino voters will continue to increase as voters in this community become an ever larger percentage of the state’s total population and a larger percentage of Arizona’s voters. Voter engagement strategies combined with increased socio-economic status and an increase to the median age of the population will continue to expand the power of the Latino electorate. Arizona Latinos have a median age of 25 and 57% of their population is under the age of 30. One Arizona is the only organization whose primary mission is to engage and recruit Latino voters in Arizona.