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Digesting the numbers
One of the most remarkable things that is happening in the Democratic primary contests this year is the voter participation producing record turnouts in every contest. Even in Florida where there was virtually no competition between the candidates, more than one million voters cast ballots in 2008 versus 2004. It is important to understand this context because we are witnessing record participation among Latinos in a record setting election cycle.
I am able to identify at least four states that have exit poll data available for Latino voters for both the 2004 and 2008 primaries. These states are Arizona, California, Florida and New York. In three of these states California, Florida and New York each of these had more than one million voters participate in 2008 compared to 2004. Arizona had more than 100,000 voters participate in 2008 compared to 2004. With the exception of New York, all these states posted a higher percentage of participation among the Latino electorate in 2008 compared to 2004, but even New York had an increase in the number of Latino voters who participated even if they had a lower percentage.
What this means is that in these four states alone there was an increase of almost one million Latinos voters in 2008 compared to 2004. This doesn't include the increase in participation from Latinos in other states such as Nevada, New Mexico and Illinois, nor does this account for the participation of Latinos in the upcoming contest in Texas.
We are truly witnessing something phenomenal occurring in the Latino electorate and in the Democratic Party. NDN has been talking about the Latino electorate playing a decisive role in this year's elections, and there is no one who can argue against that point with these results. Candidates will have to include the Latino electorate in their overall strategy from now on if they choose to succeed in a national election. I am sure that this is only the beginning of a strategic transformation that will reshape American politics.
I am including some charts for you to look at so that you can see the numbers firsthand. Keep checking in on the blog as I will add data as it becomes available. Feel free to let me know if you have any data that you want me to include that I may have overlooked.