Although New York is not a swing state in presidential elections, New York is 4th place in Latino population nationally; because of this, it is one of the most important states of the Latino vote. According to Voto Latino 2012, 17% of the population of New York is Latino, and 61% of them were born in this country.
The increase in the Latino population recently has forced many politicians to take into account the issues that are most relevant for Latinos. A study of the 2008 elections, entitled “Dissecting the 2008 Electorate: the Most Diverse in U.S. History,” published by the Pew Hispanic Center reveals an increase in the participation of Hispanic voters by 2.7% in comparison with the 2004 elections, which ranked in second place behind a 4.9% increase among African American voters. It is probable that this tendency will continue, which means potential candidates in this election cycle cannot ignore this growing portion of the electorate.
Therefore, if Latino voters are an important section of the electorate, what are the issues that are important to them? In 2011, the PewHispanicCenter published a study among Latino voters named, “As Deportations Rise to Record Levels, Most Latinos Oppose Obama’s Policy,” which demystified the most important issues for them. The three most important issues were jobs, education and health care. Surprisingly, immigration ranked in sixth place behind the National Debt and Taxes. Only a third deemed immigration an issue extremely important.
In the state of New York, approximately 22% of Latinos do not have health insurance, but other states in the country with a greater number of Latinos (California, Texas and Florida) have a higher percentage of Latinos without health insurance. With these statistics, it is easy to observe why healthcare is an important issue for Hispanics.
Stephen Luce can be contacted at Sluce17@gmail.com