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Latino Voting Surprise: Strong and Up for Grabs

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Latino Voting Surprise

AP

Television personality Jimmy Smits speaks at rally on behalf of then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008.

This just in: counter to conventional wisdom Latinos are just as likely to vote as other racial and ethnic groups, and they don't have a deep commitment to either political party.

Those are the findings of the California-based magazine Miller-McCune in a fascinating project on Hispanics (their term), with a particular emphasis on voting behavior.

Miller-McCune is relatively young and little known, but that is likely to change. The magazine has made a specialty of translating complicated research for the popular audience. Most recently, the magazine's database of Hispanic voting behavior showed that being Hispanic doesn't make one less likely to vote and have not made a deep commitment to either political party.

This runs counter to conventional wisdom that Hispanics have become loyal Democrats and don't vote in the same numbers as other racial and ethnic groups.

From Miller-McCune:

Once we accounted for demographic differences known to affect turnout, we found that Hispanics actually vote at rates very similar to those of whites and blacks. In other words, much of the explanation for the low turnout rates for Hispanics is not related to being Hispanic but to Hispanics being younger and having less education on average than whites or blacks.

Similarly, we found that in terms of both party identification and the strength of that partisanship, the differences between whites and Hispanics disappears when individual-level characteristics such as age and education are taken into account. In short, the data suggest that Hispanics have not been genuinely incorporated into the party system or made anything like a deep commitment to either party.

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