Could Obama, U.S. Latinos, be at a disadvantage because of new census numbers?
December 21st, 2010
04:30 PM ET
12 years ago

Could Obama, U.S. Latinos, be at a disadvantage because of new census numbers?

Washington (CNN) – After the U.S. Census Bureau released data from population surveys on Tuesday, some political observers began clamoring to predict who wins – and who loses.

It's clear that Republicans see positive news in the census numbers.

But could President Barack Obama – and perhaps U.S. Latinos – be at a loss?

There is no doubt about the political irony in the census numbers: Latino votes typically favor Democrats. But the more the country's population grows, largely due to an increase in the Latino population – the more Republicans appear to politically benefit in the short term.

It's worth looking at Texas to understand why.

According to the Census Bureau, the Lone Star state has gained four House seats. That means that Texas will have 38 electoral votes in play in the next presidential election. And Texas Republicans – who control the state's governorship and legislature – will have a huge say in how Texas' new electoral map is drawn.

An influx of new residents, particularly many Hispanics, fueled Texas' population growth – and hence, the extra House seats. And federal law mandates that Hispanics be fairly represented in any re-drawing of Texas' electoral map.

"Federal law requires that there not be discrimination against Latinos and other under-represented groups during the re-districting process," Rosalind Gold of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials told CNN. "So what that means is, no matter who draws the lines, they have to ensure that Latinos have an opportunity to elect their represented leaders."

Experts do not expect for all of Texas' four new House seats to be "safe" Republican districts. But even still, the census numbers don't necessarily bode well for the nation's Latinos.

As a group, Hispanics tend to vote Democratic. In 2010, national exit polls show Latinos making up eight-percent of the electorate – with six out of 10 voting for Democrats. Exit polling for this year shows even more Latino voters in Texas – 17-percent of the electorate, with 61% of them voting Democrat in the state's governor's race between GOP Gov. Rick Perry, the winner, and Democratic opponent Bill White.

Meanwhile, President Obama enjoys a wealth of Latino support. In exit polls from the 2008 presidential race, Hispanics made up nine-percent of the national electorate and 67-percent of them voted for Obama.

But it's important to remember the political irony seen in the fresh census numbers – that more Latinos in traditionally red states will likely help Republicans in the next presidential election.

A spokesman for the Texas Republican Party was asked if the 2012 GOP presidential nominee will, automatically, have a leg up because Texas has four more electoral votes.

"As long as we keep doing our job here in Texas, winning elections, and winning them convincingly, then I would agree with that statement," Chris Elam told CNN.

Even the state's Democratic Party sees trouble in Texas' extra House seats.

"When the Republican-controlled legislature re-draws our district lines in 2011, we do expect that Texas Republicans will, once again, try to gerrymander the map to…maximize an unfair, partisan advantage," Spokeswoman Kirsten Gray of the Texas Democratic Party told CNN. Gray did say, however, Texas Democrats will fight for a "fair process."

All this begs the question: if Republicans benefit from a growing number of Hispanics, do Hispanics, conversely, benefit from seeing more Republican leaders?

It's debatable. There are several key issues that Hispanics support, but many Republicans do not.

For example, the DREAM Act would have offered legal standing to immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children under the age of 16 and have lived in the country for at least five years. Hispanic groups strongly urged its passage. But the measure recently failed to advance in the Senate, largely due to Republican objections that the bill amounted to "amnesty."

More broadly, many Latino groups urge passage of a fair, comprehensive immigration reform plan. But recent attempts at that were blasted by many Republican detractors who staunchly opposed granting illegal immigrants a pathway to U.S. citizenship.

Nathaniel Persily, Professor of Law and Political Science at Columbia University's Law School, talked to CNN – re-stating those disagreements between Republicans and the nation's Latinos. But Persily also cited areas of agreement between the GOP and Latinos – many of them Catholics - on defense and social issues, like abortion. Because of this, the professor stressed that, as a group, Hispanic voters are very much up for grabs to both political parties.

Persily added, "The short term effect of this is very bad for Democrats."

"The long term prospects are good for them [Democrats.] Because of the demographic shifts, the Democrats have a chance, within 20 years, to take over Texas. And once they takeover Texas, that's pretty much…the electoral ballgame. It's pretty much impossible to see how the Republicans cobble together an electoral college majority unless they have Texas."

Filed under: Census • Latinos • President Obama
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Marcus

    "When the Republican-controlled legislature re-draws our district lines in 2011, we do expect that Texas Republicans will, ONCE AGAIN, TRY to gerrymander the map to…maximize an unfair, partisan advantage," Spokeswoman Kirsten Gray of the Texas Democratic Party told CNN.

    Yep, last time that the Census showed that Texas did have a 'raise' in the number of electoral votes, they tried to make those votes tied to Republican-leaning areas of Texas, INSTEAD OF THE PLACES WHERE THE POPULATION GROWTH CAUSED THE RAISE OF ELECTORAL VOTES.
    That's not just 'unfair' that's a lame and desperate act of a bunch of guys who are seeing the growth in the number of people who don't think (and vote) like them, and are try every dirty trick in the book to avoid the current 'status quo' to happen.
    It's something so obvious that the Texan Democrats are already getting ready for fight in the courts the next 'map of votes' (whatever is its proper name) proposed by the Texan Republicans.
    And guess what? It won't gonna happen only Texas.

    December 21, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. mat

    Why do you think the dems wanted ACORN to help with the census?

    December 21, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Marcus

    Sniffit – Thanks for saying what I wanted to about how much 'Red' and 'Blue' states pay and receive back in taxes, it's SO EASY to check the facts that only absolute denial will make these guys who still claim what they did keep on claiming that pathetic lie. And to the guy who said that stupid stuff about unions... do you work 12/15 hours per day (weekends included) to make a living? The place were you work at is secure and safe? The chances that you work beyond your phisical capacity (complete exhaustion) is next to zero?
    Who do you think you have to thank for for that fella? A GOP senator/representative? Really?

    December 21, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. mat

    Dems will always try to change rules to benefit themselves (amnesty) and their main backers (miniorities) will always vote for those who offer special treatment and handouts. Dont talk to us about fair or race. As long as 90%+ of blacks voted for Obama and nothing was said the left has no credibility on the issue. Too bad they cant(wont actually) vote for themselves to have jobs.

    December 21, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. soren

    Obama lost Texas by 12 points to McCain...Rick Perry beat Bill White by 12.5 or so points...

    Let me tell you something, there are some Midwestern states that will turn from purplle to solid red long before texas turns purple... there are some trends people aren't picking up on and it's going to sneak up on them.

    December 21, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. Glenn Koons

    Latinos might wake up and not want to be on the socialist Obama and Dem plantation. CNN shows its MSM Journo-List bias as usual. Who cares if Obama loses out on reapportionment. Nov. 2 has consequences when one looks at the 690 new State Leg. reps going Pub. Guvs go to 29. So frankly, I want Obama's progressivism to suffer and I want Pubs to pick up those 6 House seats to keep the liberals from continually destroying free enterprise and perhaps Latino voters will realize, better to be American than a multicultural special interest group for the DNC.

    December 21, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. TEW

    Can you say "Bubby Doctrine"? The GOP is taking the Nixon's GOP strategy to a historic level. The GOP plan is to negate minority votes by galvanizing scared white folks throughout the country. Just look at the evidence; attacks on immigration reform, abolishment of social programs, taxes. All key issues of middle Americans liviing in the rust belt and those wacked out racist living in the southern regions i.e. SC, VA, GA, TX, LA, FL KY, TN and lets not forget those brain fried idiots from NV. GOP beleives it can win without minorities and Mr. Steele better start packing because he will be booted very soon. You can thank the loony queen Palin and her heck men Hannity, Beck and those other FOX News bigots for the divisive climate our country is in.

    December 21, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  8. Danny Cali

    Don't listen to sensus because we have 10% of Asian American didn't fill out the sensus form and I think other people are the same and we going to Vote for Democratic and Obama next time too because we don't like the party of "NO" and "NO".

    December 21, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    Just wait for the gerrymandering to start...most of the states like TX that earned a little boost in representation did so primarily due to rapidly growing minority populations that those "red" states will have to find a way to marginalize. And you wonder why Teatards and other conservatievs want to get rid of the 17th Amendment? Skip Barbour for a second because his bigotry-laced nonsense is getting all the news anyway. Instead, let's move on to Jeff Sessions today, who ranted insanely about Obama nominating judges who have "ACLU DNA"...yeah...because 500,000 attorneys countrywide who belong to the ACLU are all just biased activists out to take the country away from whitey....riiiiiiight...but Hudson, who receives monetary rewards (dividends) from a GOP activist corporation that messaged about the HCR Bill and was paid by Cuccinelli for services, he wasn't biased and recusal shouldn't even be discussed. IOKIYAR

    December 21, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    I'm sorry, but I forgot to make the last point I was getting at with respect to Sessions' nincompoopery:

    Look at WHERE Obama's judicial nominees would sit and which ones are getting the biggest stonewalling from the GOP. Think it has anything to do wih whether they'd be in line to hear the imminent cases regarding GOP-run states trying to gerrymander their districts to blunt increasing minority voter influence? Bears looking into...REAL JOURNALISTS WOULD DO SO...but a cursory glance at the coincidences suggests there's something to that thought.

    December 21, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. David Fitzgerald

    The Latinos need to come out and vote then.

    December 21, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. Expat American

    Who are these posters who keep claiming that Democrats don’t have jobs, looking for handouts, etc..etc….?

    That's sounds odd.

    When I look around, it seems to me that the more educated (minimum MA and above), wealthier, more successful and at the at the same time more diverse people are Democrats…and inversely, the less educated, and less successful are those who support the Grand Old Tea Party….

    Is it me?

    December 21, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. NVa Native

    The Repubs sure love to whine and cry about when the other party does what they do. But the Repubs can keep trying to use their dirty poltical tricks.
    But the fact is that soon there will not be a racial majority, and soon after that the religiously insane will be out of power too. I'm white and middle aged – I guess a traitor to you knuckle-draggin' goons. Ha! I can't wait.
    Be afraid be very afraid – you backward shallow-gene-pool soon-to-be-extinct barbarians.

    December 21, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. Marcus

    Oh boy!
    Stufit: 'He (President Obama) has the advantage in uneducated, unsophisticated voters who can't see past his color, he has the news media with twinges runing up and down their legs'
    So the Tea Party and Fox news are PRO Obama?

    Glenn Koons: A'nd perhaps Latino voters will realize, better to be American than a multicultural special interest group for the DNC.'
    You mean that only 'real Americans' vote for the Republicans?

    December 21, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. lost111

    Dream act is Dead, work on the economy or find a new job President Obama. Enforce are Immigration Laws and deport the all the illegal immigrates. Confiscate All their property for it was obtained by working illegally in America to cover the cost of this operation. If they find out the Government is confiscating their property to cover the cost to deport them, they will go back on their own. This will tell the World America does enforce its Immigration laws. This operation would be a huge job creator, and would be a huge deficit reducer. When was the last time the Government had a win win.

    December 21, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. rob

    CNN makes a huge assumption that all Latinos will vote Democrat. There own polls show only a 60 to 40 difference in exit polls recently for the dems. The "white" Dems hope to convince Latinos to do as the African American community does, blindly follow them because they promise them free things. The democrats survive by dividing people into catagories and telling their constituants to hate the rich, big corporations, old white men and, of course, Republicans.

    It is the White Democrats who are affraid of and distrustfull of so-called minorities. Just watch how they treat "minorities" or women who don't agree with them and their big govt policies. Depending on the Democrat Party to save you leads to perpetual stagnation instead of the ability to improve yourself via the American dream which they think is "Unfair".

    I think that all Americans no matter who they are would prefer the opportunity that this country offers those who are willing to reach for them.

    December 21, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  17. Hayes

    Notice all the people fleeing states with high taxes and state democratic majorities that have run them financially into the ground. Come on down to Texas and Florida where we pay no state income tax and create jobs. I work with plenty of Hispanics in Texas and most are just as if not more conservative that I am. The State of texas legislature went from dead even to a two to one majority GOP in the last election.

    December 21, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "I'm glad we found what she gets inspired by. It's much more fun telling the Army what to do than working on that boring old economy. At least the Army has to obey. The never does what you want it to, does it Nancy?!?!?"

    I suspect it doesn't and I'm 100% sure it hasn't...because we've spent the past 4 decades applying the GOP's daydream trickle-down reaganomic deregulatory randian ideology to the economy. The day that the GOP winked at giant corporations and let them know that they had free rein to cause cyclical recessions and massive unemployment in order to leverage more tax cuts for themselves was the day capitalism died in Amurika.

    December 21, 2010 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  19. lost111

    Marcus USA is a land of laws. Many people from around the world are following the laws of this country and waiting in line to come to the USA. This countries laws are to keep this country from becoming a third world nation, like many of the illegal immigrant invaders coming in to this country. If these laws are to strict for your liking, you could go to a country that's laws are more accepting of immigrants from other countries. I'm sorry USA accepts more immigrants from around the world than any other country on this planet. There is hope though I think there are plans to go to mars in the future.

    December 21, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  20. rob

    Yes Expat American it is you. The whole premis of this ridicules article is that redistricting will help Republicans only (Dems do it better by the way) in the short term due to redisticing but as the Latino population increases they will naturally vote Democrat just like other "Minorities".

    You claim essentially that only "uneducated" people vote Republican but we saw this Nov. that the more the American people learn of the Democrat Party and their policies, the more they won't vote for them. If thats "Uneducated" then I am proud to be one of those who voted for one of the largest switch of Congressional parties in HISTORY.

    December 21, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  21. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Has John McCain built "the damn fence" yet? Has he secured Arizonas borders yet? Why not? Another campaign promise broken.

    December 21, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  22. Red by Choice

    In the words of Nancy P. and Pres Obamajama "we won" and therefore the Republicans will redraw the lines. Don't you liberals remember the last election? The majority were pretty fed up with the tax and spend, fluff-the-unions approach to government. Please, please, please run Obama in 2012. Your ill-prepared community organizor will go down in defeat big time. YES YOU DID, BUT ON NO YOU WON'T in 2012.

    December 21, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  23. w l jones

    If it were not union of state we would not have a country. Plus! would be working for a dollar day seven days a week without vaction.

    December 21, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  24. Mallele

    Latinos – listen to this old white lady from Texas – make your voices heard! In Houston just about all Democrats were swept out of office in the mid-term election, Latino voter turn-out was practically non-existent, even though they are a sizeable percentage of the population (yes, I am only counting those legally entitled to vote). There is not doubt Republicans, who now have a super majority in the Texas legislature, are chomping at the redistricting bit. Not unless and until Latinos wake up and use their considerable voting power will this change, at least in Texas.

    December 21, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |