Latino voters have never had a greater and more significant impact on a presidential election in history.
Fox News Exit Polls show the Latino community flexed their political muscle on Tuesday night, fueling a re-election win for President Barack Obama, especially in key battleground states. Roughly 50 percent of Latino voters cast their ballots, comprising 10 percent of Tuesday’s turnout. That exceeded the record set in 2008, when Latinos made up a record 9 percent of all voters.
Obama garnered 71 percent of the Latino vote nationwide compared to Mitt Romney's 27 percent, according to the exit polls. Romney's showing among Latinos in 2012 is the worst for a GOP candidate since Bob Dole won 21 percent of the Latino vote in 1996. When President George W. Bush won in 2000, he received 44 percent of the Latino vote, and in 2008 John McCain won 31 percent of the vote.
Obama won every major battleground state in last night's election (Florida is still undecided) thanks in large part to the overwhelming Latino support: Nevada (70% to 25%), Colorado (75% to 23%), Ohio (56% to 40%), Florida (60% to 39%), and Pennsylvania (82% to 16%).
The importance of the Latino vote can especially be underscored in state's like Nevada, Florida, and Colorado, where the Latino electorate makes a significant portion of the electorate at 18, 17, and 14 percent, respectively.
But the influence of Latino voters has grown considerably since Dole's days in 1996, compounding the problem for Republicans in the future. Latinos made up just 5 percent of the electorate when Dole ran --half of the 10 percent they accounted for in 2012. Also, Obama not only won the Latino vote, he dominated every major minority voting bloc: Blacks (93% to 6%), Asians (73% to 26%) and Women (55% to 44%). More women voted in this election than men.
"The minority groups that carried President Obama to victory by giving him 80% of their votes are on track to become a majority of the nation’s population by 2050," a Pew Research Center Report reads. "They (minorities) currently make up 37% of the population, and they cast a record 28% of the votes in the 2012 presidential election, according to the election exit polls."
On the other hand, Romney's support came from only two major voting groups in last night's election: older and white voters. Romney garnered 59 percent of the white vote, compared to Obama's 39 percent, and won all age groups over 40.
Latinos also helped fuel the youth vote toward Obama. The president won every age group under 40 including young Latino voters (18-29), who backed him by a margin of 74 percent to 23 percent.
The Latino electorate is expected to continue to grow, according to Pew. By 2050, the Hispanic share of the U.S. population could be as high as 29 percent, up from 17 percent now.
Latino share of FL electorate --- 17%
Latino support for Obama --- 60%
Latino support for Romney --- 39%
Latino share of NV electorate --- 18%
Latino support for Obama ---70%
Latino support for Romney --- 25%
Latino share of CO electorate ---14%
Latino support for Obama ---75%
Latino support for Romney ---23%
Latino share of OH electorate --- 3%
Latino support for Obama ----- 56%
Latino support for Romney ----- 40%
Latino share of PA electorate --- 7%
Latino support for Obama ----- 82%
Latino support for Romney ----- 16%
Latino share of VA electorate --- 4%
Latino support for Obama ----- 53%
Latino support for Romney ----- 44%
Bryan Llenas currently serves as a New York-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC) and a reporter for Fox News Latino (FNL).
Follow him on Twitter @BryanLlenas.