Big Latino Story in Texas: 1 of Every 5 Voters was Latina

March 6, 2008

The most interesting development coming out of Texas yesterday was this fact: 1 of every 5 voters was a Latina. “Latina”, not “Latino”. A stunning development that previews the future in other U.S. states whose demographics will start resembling those of Tejas and California. This piece from New America Media goes into greater depth.

Hispanic Women Outvote Men in Texas

New America Media, News Report, Roberto Lovato, Posted: Mar 05, 2008

Editor’s Note: One of every five votes in Texas was cast by a Latina, helping to sway the state toward Clinton, writes NAM contributor Roberto Lovato.

In one of the tightest races in memory, the Texas primary brought Latinos to the polls in record numbers – and many of these were women. One of every five votes in Texas was cast by a Latina; Latino men constituted only 14 percent of those who voted.

The feminization of the Latino vote in Texas benefited Clinton. As in other segments of the electorate, Clinton’s pull among women earned her 66 percent of
Latina votes, compared to the 58 percent she received among Latino men.

The surge in Latina voter participation in Texas was due to several factors, including the on-the-ground efforts of groups like the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project (SVREP), which launched a major nonpartisan campaign to reach thousands of Latina voters though traditional and non-traditional methods including barbecues, church meetings, phone banking, text-messaging and emails.

“It’s clear that (Latina) women voters were a key base vote in the election,” says Lydia Camarillo, SVREP’s vice president who spearheaded their work in Texas. Asked why most Latinas voted for Clinton, El Paso native Camarillo points to the long history of the Clinton family in Texas as well as the possibility of making history by electing the country’s first female president.

“They were voting for a woman,” says Camarillo. “They felt a sense of history with her. The under-30 voters were going for Obama. I saw a lot of people with conflicts up until the very last minute. But, in the end, they seemed to be voting for the person that they knew the best.”

Camarillo credits the Clinton and Obama campaigns with the increase in Latino voter participation. “It’s exciting that Latinos were being targeted so heavily by both campaigns,” she says. “Both understood and invested in the Latino electorate in ways we’ve never seen.”

Close to a million Latinos voted, according to Camarillo, making the Texas primary historic.

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