Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Cambridge University Press


Latina and Latino political participation in the 2012 election reached new heights, proving to be a significant factor in the electoral outcomes of several battleground states and ultimately the reelection of President Obama. Both Latinas and Latinos played pivotal roles in the 2012 election, increasing their share of the national electorate and their support for President Obama over 2008 election levels. In the end, President Obama received 71 percent of the Latina/o vote (compared with 27 percent for Mitt Romney), surpassing all previous presidential candidates with the exception of Bill Clinton, who garnered 72 percent of the Latina/o vote in 1996. In fact, among key demographic groups comprising the Nnew electorate" - African Americans, Latinas/os, women, younger voters, and independents - Latinas/os were the only group whose level of turnout and support for Obama substantially surpassed those of the 2008 presidential election. Table 5.1 compares voting in 2008 and 2012 across several demographic groups and demonstrates the growth of Latina/o support for Obama. Ultimately, while President Obama's favorability ratings were affected by a bruising first term, resulting in decreased support among key constituents and whites generally, Latina/o turnout and support for Obama, particularly in Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada, were vitally important in overcoming setbacks elsewhere. As one political scientist and pollster put it, "for the first time in U.S. history, [the] Latino vote can plausibly claim to be nationally decisive. "

Chapter of

Gender and Elections: Shaping the Future of American Politics, 3rd edition


Sue Carroll
Richard Fox


This material has been published in Gender and Elections: Shaping the Future of American Politics, 3rd edition edited by Sue Carroll and Richard Fox. This version is free to view and download for personal use only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Cambridge University Press.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.