President Obama won the youth vote, but according to a new report by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), a substantial sector of his youth support came from Latinas.
According to the report, Latinas ages 18 to 29 were the most liberal of all race and gender groups. President Obama garnered 82 percent of the Latina youth vote, while Republican governor Mitt Romney only received 17 percent. Nearly 65 percent of young Latinas identified as Democrats.
Compared to older Hispanic women, young Latinas were almost twice as likely to identify as liberal. Just 29 percent of Latinas over the age 0f 30 called themselves liberals. President Obama also received almost 10 percent fewer votes from older Latinas, with 73 percent of this age casting their vote for him.
Hispanic women were not just more liberal in their age group, but also than their male counterparts. Hispanic men comprised the largest youth segment to vote for Romney. More than any other minority group, Latino male voters showed support for the Republican party, with 28 percent indicating that they favored the GOP. Just 42 percent of Hispanic males affiliated with the Democratic party. Despite the substantial minority affiliated with the Republican Party, 66 percent of young Hispanic men voted for President Obama.
Immigration and reproductive rights have been two of the most highly-cited reasons for President Obama’s appeal to Latina voters. Helen Torres, Executive Director of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality says she believes that healthcare was a main reason for their support.
“The conversation on reproductive rights plays a huge factor,” says Torres, adding that embedded in the topic is the whole healthcare and affordable act conversation. “There’s a huge benefit that Latinas are going to get from that,” Torres says.
According to the CIRCLE report, however, another issue played a key role in the election. Young women of color were touched by President Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy more than any other voting bloc. Nearly 74 percent of young women of color considered his hurricane response an important factor, compared to 49 percent of the young electorate and 42 percent of the general electorate.
Overall, the report points to the increasing demographic and political power of Hispanic female youth. Hispanic women make up 8.4 percent of the 18-29 population, making it the largest of any minority and gender group. The share of Latinas within the youth electorate is only on the rise. Votes cast by Latinas increased from 8 percent in 2008 to 9 percent in 2012.
Latinas were also on the younger end of the 18-29 electorate. An estimated 67 percent fell in the 18 to 24 age category. Of these voters, 69 percent had some college education and 31 percent completed college. College education of Latina voters contrasts with the Hispanic male vote, where 41 percent came from non-college youth.
Hispanic males and women also differed on religion, with 45 percent of males subscribing to Protestant or Evangelical faith compared to 30 percent of Latina women.