Is Voter Registration Really Down Among African Americans and Latinos?

The other day I linked to this Washington Post report; ‘That figure fell 5 percent across the country, to about 11 million, according to the Census Bureau. But in some politically important swing states, the decline among Hispanics, who are considered critical in the 2012 presidential contest, is much higher: just over 28 percent in New Mexico, for example, and about 10 percent in Florida.”

My UCI colleague Marty Wattenberg wondered about the accuracy of the numbers because they are self-reported numbers and from 2010.

He pointed me to these statistics from the state of Florida, which collects data on race to comply with the Voting Rights Act. Marty write that he looked at the spread sheet that says “by party and race” for each year. His rough calculations on voter registrations comparing 2008 and 2012 by race:

Hispanics up 9%

Whites up 1.5%

Blacks down 0.5%

Asians up 14%

As recently as 2006, Republicans outnumbered Democrats among Hispanics. He calculated the 2012 percentage among Hispanics as 38.3% Dem to 30.7% Rep.

Marty also didn’t find a registration decline looking at South Carolina’s statistics, though actual African American turnout was down in 2010 compared to 2008.

Bottom line: the voter registration figure by race may be more nuanced than the census bureau statistics suggest.

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