Young Latinas Were Among Obama's Most Enthusiastic Voters, Report Says


Published November 14, 2012

| Fox News Latino

Young Latinas and African Americans were President Obama’s biggest supporters among voters between 18 and 29 years old, according to an analysis released Wednesday of national exit poll data.

Black women gave Obama the most support, with 98 percent saying they voted for him. The next group that was most supportive of Obama among young voters were Latinas, with 82 percent voting for the president, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), a youth research organization at Tufts University.

Nearly 60 percent felt positive and hopeful about Obama, nearly twice as much as young voters in general.

“In general, young women of color felt that President Obama had only inherited economic problems from the previous administration (2 percent blamed Obama for the economic problems) and has been steadily improving the situation,” said a report on the analysis.

Male minority voters were considerably less enthusiastic, with about 32 percent describing themselves as such. Still, nearly 90 percent of them favored Obama over GOP challenger Mitt Romney, compared with 57 percent of all voters and 35 percent of non-Hispanic white males who cast their ballots.

The analysis, of exit poll data gathered by Edison Research, showed that among young minority voters, Hispanic men were the most likely to prefer the Republican Party or consider themselves Independents, even though two-third of them voted for President Obama. Slightly more than a quarter – or 26 percent – of Latinos said they are conservative.

Latinas were the most liberal, and the “least likely to be religious,” the report said.

Latinas, the report noted, represent “a formidable voting bloc” because they comprise a larger percentage of the 18-29 population than African Americans. The report said that Hispanic women make up 8.4 percent of the youth population, the largest ethnic/gender group of this segment.

Latinos are by far the youngest voting bloc in the country, with their median age at 27 —and just 18 years among native-born Hispanics—compared with 42 years for that of white non-Hispanics, studies show.

Some 900,000 Latinos turn 18 years old each year, potentially further bolstering their clout in elections, political experts say. Latinos turned out in record numbers on Nov. 6, making up 10 percent of voters and helping to tilt the election in Obama's favor.

“In the coming decades, their share of the age-eligible electorate will rise markedly through generational replacement alone,” said a report released Wednesday by the Pew Hispanic Center.

The Tufts youth voter analysis said that roughly 69 percent of young Latinas said they were Democrats, 15 percent as Republicans and 20 percent as neither.

As for Hispanic men, just 42 percent identified with the Democratic Party, 28 percent with Republicans, and the rest chose “other.”

Young black male voters, it said, were more conservative and younger in 2012 than they were four years ago, when Obama became the first African-American to be U.S. president.

Non-Hispanic white women in this age group were split evenly between Obama and Romney, but support Obama more than their male counterparts.

Non-Hispanic white males were the only young voters who favored Romney over Obama, with 54 percent over 40 percent.

The report said that about 18 percent of young white male voters felt “angry” at Obama, blaming him for the ailing economy.

And while about 50 percent of all young voters cited Obama’s handling of Hurricane Sandy as impressive and an important factor in the elections, only 34 percent of white male voters did so.

The report said that white male voters had a deeper sense of being adversely affected by the economy than other young voters, though “while male voters were more likely to have a job (67 percent compared to 59 percent for youth overall).”

A majority of white males believed that Romney would have handled the economy better, the report showed.

At the same time, the analysis found, “young white men were. . .more likely to believe that President Obama understands them than Mitt Romney. And yet, their vote choice was not dependent on understanding.”

The report also noted that male white voters supported Romney although they were pro-choice and support same-sex marriage, unlike the former Massachusetts governor. More than other young voters, however, a majority support deporting undocumented workers. Older white males, the report said, were more supportive of undocumented immigrants, with 56 percent of them saying they should be able to apply for legal status.