Historic Latino Voter Turnout Helps Elect Barack Obama

Ben R. Lujan Wins 3rd Congressional District of New Mexico; Luis G. Fortuño is elected Governor of Puerto Rico; Pedro R. Pierluisi Becomes Puerto Rico’s Next Delegate to Congress.

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Washington, DC – Latino voters turned out in record numbers this election and voted decisively for Barack Obama, helping him win in a landslide election in which the minority vote provided the decisive margin of victory. According to exit poll projections, almost 11 million Latinos voted with 67% voting for Senator Obama. If these numbers hold, it would be an astounding 44% increase in Latino voter turnout since the 2004 elections. Senator Obama received a higher percentage of the Latino vote than did John Kerry (59%) and Al Gore (62%) putting to rest for good the suggestion by some that Latinos would not vote for an African American candidate.

“The record Latino voter turnout for the 2008 elections has reshaped the political landscape in America,” stated LULAC National President Rosa Rosales. “The Latino vote proved decisive in the key battleground states of Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, Indiana and Florida.”

Latino men (64%) and Latino women (68%) voted convincingly for Obama, whereas non-Latino white voters supported McCain (55%) over Obama (43%) but not by a wide enough margin to compensate for the lopsided support that Obama drew from other voters who now make up a quarter of the U.S. electorate.

“Latino voters clearly believed that Barack Obama’s historic election as the first African American President breaks the color barrier for the nation’s highest elected office and gives them hope that the doors are open for other people of color to get elected to the Presidency,” said LULAC National President Rosa Rosales. “Forty-five years ago, Martin Luther King gave his ‘I have a Dream’ speech and, yesterday, America took a huge step forward in making that dream a reality. LULAC is looking forward to working with the new administration in addressing critical issues important to Latinos including access to affordable health care, immigration reform, education, worker’s rights, the economy, retirement security and foreclosure prevention.”

Latino voters provided the margin of victory for Obama in key battleground states. In Florida where Obama won by just 198,303, Latinos cast 14% of the ballots and supported Obama (57%) over McCain (42%). In Colorado where Obama won by 138,521 votes, Latinos cast 17% of the ballots and supported Obama (73%) over McCain (27%). In Virginia where Obama won by 155,862 votes, Latinos cast 5% of the ballots and supported Obama (65%) over McCain (34%).

Latino Congressional candidates ran the tables with the entire Hispanic Congressional delegation winning re-election. New Mexico Public Regulation Commissioner Ben R. Lujan won the 3rd Congressional District in New Mexico and his victory increased the number of Hispanics serving in Congress to 27. Representative Luis G. Fortuño won election as the Governor of Puerto Rico while Pedro R. Pierluisi won the race to take Fortuño’s place as Puerto Rico’s Delegate to the US House of Representatives.

The League of United Latin American Citizen (www.lulac.org) advances the economic conditions, educational attainment, political influence, health, housing and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC councils nationwide.