News Column

The Changing Face of the American Voter

November 13, 2012

Michael Pound

Hispanic Voters

One thing defeated Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney can boast -- he won his party's base, white males, handily. The trouble for Romney -- and, perhaps, for Republicans running down the road -- is that that base is shrinking, while other demographics that lean toward the Democrats are exploding in numbers.

White men made up about 34 percent of the electorate this year, down from 46 percent in 1972, according to the Associated Press.

What growing groups made a difference for Democrat Barack Obama? Black voters and a Hispanic population that grew by 2.5 percent in the last year alone. Non-white voters made up about 28 percent of the electorate last week, compared with about 20 percent in the 2000 presidential election, and while numbers of black voters remained the same between this election and last, the number of Hispanic voters increased from 9 percent to about 10 percent.

And with 70 percent of Hispanics and more than 90 percent of blacks voting for Obama last week, according to AP exit polls, it's not hard to see the trend, even for Republicans.

"Clearly, when you look at African-American and Latino voters, they went overwhelmingly for the president, Republican strategist John Stineman told the AP last week. "And that's certainly a gap that's going to require a lot of attention from Republicans."

There is growth in the Hispanic population in western Pennsylvania, but it is slow. But the state's Hispanic population nearly doubled between the 2000 and 2010 census counts, with much of that growth coming in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, which saw its Hispanic population increase from 5.6 percent of its total in 2000 to 7.8 percent in 2010.

Here's a look at some additional figures, local and national, that show the change that's occurred in the recent past -- and what's to come in the future.

Source: (c) 2012 Beaver County Times (Beaver, Pa.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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