(CNN) – More Latinos will be eligible to vote in November's election than at any other time in American history, but getting them to the polls will provide campaigns a challenge, according to a report released Monday.
The Pew Hispanic Center report indicated 23.7 million Latinos are eligible to vote November 6, meaning they are U.S. citizens over the age of 18. That's an increase of 22% since 2008, when there were 19.5 million Latinos in America who met the country's voting requirements.
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While both Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama have aggressively courted Latino voters, the turnout rate for the group in 2008 – 50% - was lower than that of black voters (65%) and white voters (66%).
And the decrease in voter registration between the 2008 election and the 2010 for Latinos was sharp – 600,000 fewer Latinos registered to vote in the midterm elections than they did for the presidential contest two years earlier.
The Pew report suggests two factors that could have led to the decrease over two years: reduced enthusiasm for a non-presidential election, and an economic downturn that has displaced many Latinos (and subsequently caused their voter registration to lapse).
Whether or not the downward trend from 2010 continues this year remains to be seen, since national data on voter registration isn't available until after the election.
However, four individual states that have published information on voter sign-ups show an increase in Latino registration since 2008. In Florida, a key battleground with 29 electoral votes at stake, 1.6 million Latinos had registered to vote by the middle of July, an increase over the 1.4 million Latinos who registered to vote in the Sunshine State in 2008.
North Carolina, another battleground, also reports an increase in Latino registered voters since 2008 – 102,000, compared to 68,000 who registered four years ago.
Pew noted that Latino voter registration increases in North Carolina and Florida may also be attributable to spikes in the overall Latino populations of both states, which in each has come close to doubling in the past decade.
In total, 17% of eligible Latino voters live in the nine states considered "toss ups" on CNN's Electoral Map – meaning that most potential Latino voters live in states that are either solid or leaning for either Romney or Obama. The Pew report indicated that 55% of eligible Latino voters live in California, Texas or New York – states which consistently vote Republican or Democratic in presidential elections.
And Latino voters are younger than other groups – 32% of eligible Latinos are between the ages of 18 and 29, compared to 19% of white voters and 25% of black voters. One quarter are naturalized citizens, also higher than other groups.
Both Romney and Obama are campaigning heavily for Latino voters, including participating in Univision forums last month and speaking at events sponsored by Latino groups. A Gallup poll conducted partially before and partially after the Republican National Convention at the end of August said Obama leads Romney among Latino registered voters 64% to 27%.