Hispanics lean far more Democrat than Republican. But that doesn’t mean that a vote for Hilary Clinton this November is a slam dunk.
A newly-released Nielsen report, titled “From the Ballot Box to the Grocery Store: A 2016 Perspective on Growing Hispanic Influence in America,” paints a very nuanced picture of the U.S. Latino demographic. The numbers often defy commonly held assumptions and highlight just how important, and tricky, it is to reach the Hispanic marketplace and affect the Hispanic vote.
That Hispanics can determine the outcome of the November elections is no secret. Today’s U.S. Latino population is almost 57 million and growing, and there are currently 27 million U.S. Hispanics who are, or will to be, eligible to vote in the 2016 presidential election, making up 12 percent of the total U.S. electorate.
However, though most Hispanics identify as Democrats (52 percent) and very few as Republicans (only 9 percent, less than any other demographic), fully 30 percent identify as Independents, according to numbers in the study culled from a March 2016 survey.
The same survey also found that 55 percent of registered voters plan to vote Democrat in the elections.
Don’t cheer yet. That’s much lower than the 71 percent of Hispanics who voted for Barack Obama in 2012. Still, it’s far more than the 14 percent who plan to vote Republican. That still leaves 30 percent who identify as Independents, the same percentage as non-Hispanic whites. And of that 30 percent, the majority (56 percent) don’t lean either Republican or Democrat; they could go either way.
Getting that chunk of the vote could be crucial election time, and there are several factors that marketers should keep in mind. One, English-dominant Hispanics are far likelier to vote (71 percent) than Spanish dominant (44 percent) or even bilingual (66 percent).
Most important, Hispanic voters tend to be younger. By this November, 3.4 million eligible Hispanic voters will come of age since the last presidential election, far more than the 6 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 9 percent African Americans.
So while only 48 percent of Hispanics voted in 2012, that number could surge in the next three months with a Hispanic electorate that is shifting significantly younger, U.S. born, English dominant and better educated than their older counterparts.
The twist? That same younger voter also leans Independent (39 percent), making him or her up for grabs.