The Power of the Latino Community in the United States and Puerto Rico
The Latino vote has become a pivotal factor for many political candidates, including the presidency. Estimates from the U.S. Census and the rapid expansion of the population have created a tidal wave of activities aimed at attracting the Hispanic vote across the nation. Since 1990, 1.5 million Latinos have naturalized. There are 6.6 million registered Latino voters across the nation. In California, Texas, Florida, Illinois and New York, five key electoral states, Latinos have emerged as powerful allies for candidates seeking office.
Like any voting group, Latinos are not easily categorized and voting patterns neatly generalized. However, several major factors play out as key decision-making variables: one's point of origin, length of time in United States, and income levels. Although Latinos share a common history of Spanish colonialism and similar nation building, they differ in political processes and agendas. Despite having citizenship, Puerto Ricans can vote in a presidential election only if they live on the mainland and establish residency. Cuban-Americans are concentrated in South Florida and tend to be conservative. Mexican-American voting patterns are very issue-oriented, divided according to income levels and generation.
La Voz de la Comunidad: LULAC Civic Participation Efforts
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