New American Economy’s new research brief, “The Changing Face of the Nation: How Hispanic and Asian Voters Could Reshape the Electorate in Key States,” shows how an increasing number of Hispanic and Asian voters could shift the electorate in 18 key states across the country by 2020.
Key findings include:
- There are currently more than 13.2 million unregistered Hispanic and Asian eligible voters in the United States. Many key presidential states have particularly high totals of unregistered Hispanic and Asian voters, such as Texas (2.4 million), Florida (814,000), Arizona (582,000), Colorado (272,000), Pennsylvania (224,000), Nevada (154,000), and Virginia (127,000).
- By 2020, almost 4.2 million additional Hispanic and Asian residents will naturalize and become eligible to vote. This will have particular impact in key presidential states like Florida (472,000), Texas, (360,000), Virginia (113,000), Arizona (82,000), and Georgia (81,000).
- Also by 2020, almost 8.2 million Hispanic and Asian citizens will turn 18 years old and become eligible to vote for the first time. These future voters are spread throughout the country, but have very high concentrations in key presidential states like Texas (1.4 million), Arizona (305,000), Florida (482,000), and Colorado (167,000).
- These new pools of voters could dramatically reshape the electoral map. By 2020, current Hispanic and Asian unregistered citizens, newly naturalized immigrants, and those recently turned 18 could increase the pool of Hispanic and Asian voters in Texas by almost 4.2 million people, a number that is more than triple the 1.26-million person margin of victory that Mitt Romney held there in 2012. That same year, Arizona, a state Romney won by 208,000, will have almost 970,000 such potential new Asian and Hispanic voters. By 2020, the pool of potential Hispanic and Asian voters in Colorado (479,000) and Nevada (331,000) will be 3.5 and 4.9 times the size of Obama’s margin of victory in those states in 2012, respectively.
- If Hispanic and Asian voting patterns from the 2012 presidential election continue into future elections, many traditionally Republican states will become competitive or begin to lean Democratic. If these trends continue, and if Hispanic and Asian voters continue to increase their turnout numbers, this could mean bad news for Republicans. If Hispanic and Asian voters maintain their 2012 voting preferences and reach the participation levels of white voters, they would erase nearly all of the GOP margin of victory in Arizona and half of the margin of victory in Texas and North Carolina by as soon as 2020.
- However, if Republicans are able to regain the same level of support they held among Asian and Hispanic voters in 2004, the rapidly growing pool of potential voters could actually represent an advantage for them. In two states in our analysis, Florida and Georgia, Republicans could actually see a net gain in the number of Hispanic and Asian voters siding with them by 2020 if they achieve the same level of support they held among Hispanics and Asians in 2004. Regaining Bush level support would also result in Romney’s 1.2-million vote margin in Texas shrinking by just 18,000 votes by 2020 if Hispanics and Asians maintain their 2012 turnout levels.