According to a new report released by America's Voice and NDN last week, U.S. Latinos are poised to shake up the political landscape, as 2010 Census data is projected to reveal Latino population growth. Thanks largely to new Latino constituents, eight states will likely gain Congressional seats after the 2010 Census.
In total, the report projects that 19 states are poised to see Congressional changes:
* Gains: Texas (+4), Arizona (+2), Florida (+1), Georgia (+1), Nevada (+1), South Carolina (+1), and Utah (+1).
* Loses: Ohio (-2), Illinois (-1), Louisiana (-1), Massachusetts (-1), Michigan (-1), Minnesota (-1), Missouri (-1), New Jersey (-1), New York (-1), and Pennsylvania (-1).
Among the states gaining seats, Florida, South Carolina, Nevada and Oregon would likely remain unchanged if it weren't for Latinos accounting for an average 44% of those states' population growth. In Texas, where Latinos have accounted for 60% of the population growth since 2000, there would be one additional seat--not four. And in Arizona where Latinos have accounted for 48% of the population growth since 2000, there would be one additional seat--not two.
Likewise, states like Louisiana, Ohio and Illinois that are projected to lose seats would fair much worse if it weren't for Latinos constituting a combined 77 percent of their states' population growth in the past 10 years.
Growing Latino Vote Cannot be Ignored. The new report also tracks the tremendous growth of Latino voter turnout--showing that in the eight states poised to gain seats, "Latino voter registration grew 45 percent and Latino voter turnout expanded by 50 percent between 2000 and 2008."
As data from the 2009 elections showed--the growing Latino vote CANNOT BE IGNORED. Politicians lose when they do not engage the Latino vote; and politicians win when they embrace this growing electorate and speak to their concerns.
Immigration Reform Fight is High Stakes for Some Politicians. Given the increasing influence of the Latino vote, smart political strategists and elected leaders facing off in 2010 should tread carefully on the upcoming immigration reform fight. With polling data showing that 87 percent of Latino voters would not vote for a candidate who supported deportation of undocumented immigrants, the fact remains that Latino voters are poised to punish short-sighted politicians who attempt to demonize immigrants.
Our message to elected leaders: do the political calculation before you throw immigrants under the bus! Click here to access the full AV and NDN report [PDF].