Hispanics and the Ballot Box: How Latinos Affected the 2014 Election

Daniel Garza Economic Prosperity

The U.S. Hispanic population is on the rise and its impact on American politics is growing. Beyond the traditional states of Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas, the Hispanic electorate is poised to make significant impacts on elections in other states with high Hispanic population growth – such as North Carolina, Colorado, Illinois, and Alaska. While voter turnout among this community is still below the national average, as this young population ages, its influence will only expand. Still, their relevance is present even today and candidates are taking note. Both sides of the aisle are making greater efforts to reach out and connect with this growing electorate, whose influence may be a deciding vote this year on a number of races and even potentially impact which party takes control of the U.S. Senate.

The LIBRE Institute’s 2014 Hispanic Margin of Victory Project (Hispanic MVP) analyzes past voting trends to estimate the number of Hispanic voters in 2014 and identifies those races where the estimated Hispanic vote is larger than the previous margin of victory in that race. Recognizing the lower voter turnout among Hispanics, this analysis estimates the number of Hispanic voters using actual voter turnout figures in midterm elections since 1998, as opposed to current eligible voter figures. For some races, the projected margin of victory from recent polls is also analyzed to determine whether the Latino vote could potentially impact its outcome.

The LIBRE Institute’s Hispanic MVP identifies twelve House races, three Senate races and four gubernatorial races across nine states where the Hispanic vote is large enough to influence its outcome.

Voter turnout estimates for 2014 are calculated using a forecast model based on the turnout rate over the last four midterm elections obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau. The projected number of voters is then calculated by applying the estimated turnout rate to the latest U.S. Census Bureau population figures for each particular geographical area. Additional details may be found in the report’s Methodology section.

This report illustrates the potential impact of the Hispanic electorate this election cycle and promotes a better understanding of the role that the Hispanic electorate can play in influencing elections this year and in years to come.

View the report below or download a PDF copy.