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Latinos and the 2014 Midterm Election: Eligible Latino Voter Population Larger For Gubernatorial Races Than Senate Elections

First Posted: Oct 20, 2014 05:13 PM EDT

While 25.2 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the 2014 midterm elections, nearly 1.2 million eligible Latino voters live across eight states with "competitive" U.S. senate races. The eight competitive senate races, recognized by Pew Research Center, are Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and North Carolina.

In Colorado, the eligible Latino voter population represents 14.2 percent of the total eligible voter population. The remaining seven states have an eligible Latino population of 6-percentage points or less. Kansas has the second-highest rate of eligible Latino voter population with 6 percent ahead of Alaska's 4.8 percent. North Carolina ranked fourth with 3.1 percent while Arkansas rounded the top five with 2.9 percent.

"Colorado alone accounts for 45 percent of Latino eligible voters in all competitive Senate states. North Carolina has the next highest number of Latino eligible voters, and accounts for 19 percent of all eligible voters in competitive states. But due to North Carolina's relatively large population, Latinos account for only about 3 percent of the state's 7 million eligible voters," noted the Pew Research Center's study report titled "Latino Voters and the 2014 Midterm Elections."

Some states, such as Kentucky, have a small Latino population and eligible Latino voter rate. Kentucky's overall total eligible voter population is 3.3 million, but only 51,000 are Latino, or 1.6 percent.

In comparison to the senate races, states with gubernatorial elections have better Latino representation. According to Pew Research Center, the nine states with gubernatorial elections have an average eligible Latino voter population of 7.9 percent, which is higher for the 4.7 percent rate for the competitive senate races.

With 36 governor races set for November's midterm Election Day, three states have a double-digit eligible Latino voter percentage rate. Florida has the highest eligible Latino voter rate with 17 percent, which equates to 2.3 million Latinos. As Latin Post reported, Latino Decisions conducted a poll for the National Council of La Raza and National Council of La Raza Action Fund and found 73 percent of Latinos polled was "certain" to vote in the Florida gubernatorial election.

"Latinos make up a growing part of the electorate in competitive gubernatorial states," Pew Research Center reported. "For example, in Florida, the number of Latino eligible voters increased from 2.1 million in 2010 to 2.3 million in 2012, while the Latino eligible voter share increased by 1.2 percentage points over the same period."

Colorado ranked second with 14.2 percent of eligible Latino voters ahead of Connecticut's 10.3 percent. Illinois narrowly missed out on double-digit figures with 9.5 percent rate of eligible Latino voters. According to the report, the competitive gubernatorial states with high rates of eligible Latino voters also have an overall larger Latino population. For gubernatorial elections, Florida is the only state with more than a million eligible Latino voters. Illinois has 846,000 eligible Latino voters while 524,000 live in Colorado.

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