The Pew Research Center reported this week that Hispanic millennials would make up nearly half of the 27.3 million eligible U.S. Latino voters in this year’s presidential election.
That percentage is higher than any other racial and ethnic group and puts the spotlight on the Latino youth vote. A University of Kansas researcher of Latinos in U.S. politics said presidential campaigns could seek to mobilize the Latino youth vote to leverage an advantage, but it’s possible they could be ignored or demobilized as well.
Christina Bejarano, associate professor political science, is available to discuss the influence of the growing Latino youth vote.
“In the last presidential election, the overall youth vote increased their share of voters and also represented the most racially/ethnically diverse among the electorate,” Bejarano said. “As a result, Latino millennials are poised to provide a large portion of this growing youth vote if they are motivated to participate by the political parties and presidential candidates.”
Bejarano’s work focuses on women and Latinos in U.S. electoral politics, both their voting trends and political candidates. She has written two books: “The Latino Advantage: Gender, Race and Political Success” and “The Latino Gender Gap in U.S. Politics.”
Bejarano said presidential campaigns likely could not look at the entire Latino youth vote as a solid bloc. She also found in her research that among Latino youth, female voters showed a greater level of support for President Obama in 2012 than Latino male youth, indicating a 16-point gender gap.