Latino voters are already showing up to vote this election and could cast ballots in larger numbers than Democrats saw in recent elections.
On a call with reporters Friday, Latino Decisions– a polling group focused on Hispanic voting patters– said that Latino turnout is on track to make history next week.
On the call, Gabriel Sanchez, a principal at Latino Decisions, pointed to early voting trends that show Latino early voting is up 100 percent in Florida, 60 percent in North Carolina and up 25 percent in Colorado and Nevada.
Sanchez said at this point, Latino Decisions is projecting that between 13.1 million and 14.7 million Latinos will vote on or before Tuesday– a major increase from 2012 numbers when the group estimated 11.2 million voted.
The numbers are a good sign for Hillary Clinton who has seen the race tighten in recent days. Latino Decisions is estimating– using their own turnout predictor– that Clinton is on track to capture 79 percent of the Latino vote. Trump, on the other hand, is expected to garner only 18 percent (almost 10 points down from Romney’s 27 percent performance.)
“Her lead over Donald Trump was larger than Obama’s over Romney for the entire year,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez argued that higher Latino turnout seems to be fueled by two things. First, he said Latino voters desperately want to reject Trump’s disparaging rhetoric against Latinos, which has been a major piece of his campaign. Second, Sanchez said Latino Decisions has seen a steady increase in support for Hillary Clinton.
Latino turnout could be the difference maker for Clinton in swing states like Nevada, North Carolina and Florida. Frank Sharry, the director of America’s Voice, said a high enough turnout may even get the ball rolling in Congress on another round of negotiations on comprehensive immigration reform.
“I think the way we’re looking at it, is that we’re gonna come out of this election having shown the growing power of Latino voters and for Latino voters [immigration reform] is a defining and mobilizing issue. They are gonna want action,” Sharry said.