Early Voting Data Shows Surge in Latino Turnout in 3 Key States

People vote at a polling station in Cudahy, California on June 7, 2016, during the California presidential primary. (Credit:
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

People vote at a polling station in Cudahy, California on June 7, 2016, during the California presidential primary. (Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

The percentage of eligible Latino voters who turn out to cast ballots typically isn’t as high as other demographics, but early voting data in three key battleground states suggest that could be changing in the 2016 race.

So far, Latino voting in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina is significantly up from 2012, according to Catalist, a data company that works with progressive candidates and groups to receive detailed early vote return information this year. Catalist’s voter list connects returned ballots with demographic and registration information, such as party registration, gender and age, and allows a closer look at who has already cast a vote.

In total, more than 30 million votes have been cast already across 38 states with early voting. And both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump continue to urge their supporters to vote early as Election Day nears.

Latinos tend to vote more Democratic than the population as a whole. And in 2012, Latinos voted for President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by 71% to 27%, according to an analysis of exit polls by the Pew Hispanic Center.

Here’s a look at the available voting data from each of the three states:

Florida

At this point in 2008, 260,263 Latino voters, or 9.6% of the electorate, voted early. So far in 2016, that number has grown to 596,146, or 14.1% of all early ballots cast.

In terms of raw numbers, Hispanic early turnout has increased 129% from 2008. Their turnout numbers increased at a faster rate than white and black voters.

CNN looked at data from 2008 because it doesn’t have comparable data from 2012.

In the most recent CNN/ORC poll this week, Florida appears to be a tight contest, with Clinton at 49% among likely voters while Trump is at 47%.

Obama carried Florida’s Hispanic vote 60% to 39%, an improvement over his 57% to 42% showing in 2008, according to the Pew Research Center.

Georgia

At this point in 2012, 12,933 Latinos, or 0.9% of early voters, cast early ballots. In 2016, that number has increased to more than double at 31,623 people, or 1.7% of all voters who cast their ballot early.

The Hispanic electorate in Georgia isn’t large, but Hispanic early turnout has increased by 144% from 2012.

In the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey published Thursday, Clinton sits just 1 point behind Trump in Georgia — 45% to 44%, within the poll’s margin of error.

North Carolina

At this point in 2012, 21,474 Latinos voted early — about 1.2% of the electorate. So far this year, 37,591 Latinos have voted, a slight increase to 1.8% of early voters.

The Latino vote in North Carolina has a relatively small influence in the state, but has increased in voter turnout this year nonetheless. Early voting among Hispanics has increased 75% so far from 2012.

A Quinnipiac University poll out Wednesday showed Clinton ahead in North Carolina, 47% to Trump’s 44%.

Obama won 68% of the Hispanic vote in North Carolina in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center.