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August 2014
Latino Likely Voters in California
  • Latinos make up 38 percent of the state’s total population …
    About 14 million Latinos reside in California, accounting for 38% of the state’s total population. According to census data, California’s Latino population grew 33% between 2000 and 2012—far outpacing overall growth (11%). Non-Hispanic whites account for 40% of California’s population, while Asians (13%) and blacks (6%) comprise much smaller shares. According to the state’s demographers, California—which became the first large "majority minority” state after the 2000 Census—now has a Latino plurality.
  • … but only 17 percent of likely voters.
    Latinos represent about 34% of the state’s adult population, but according to our surveys, they account for only 17% of those most likely to vote. Asians account for 11% of likely voters and 14% of the adult population. The share of black likely voters matches their representation in the adult population (6%). In contrast, non-Hispanic whites constitute 44% of California’s adult population, but a far greater share—62%—of the state’s likely voters. Our surveys over the last year indicate that only 23% of Latino adults are likely to vote, compared to 39% of Asians, 49% of blacks, and 65% of whites. Part of the explanation for this voter gap may be that many Latino adults are not U.S. citizens and thus not eligible to vote.
  • Latinos tend to be Democrats, but many are politically conservative.
    A solid majority (59%) of Latino likely voters are registered as Democrats (similar to 2010); 18% are registered as Republicans and 17% as independent voters, also known as "decline to state” or "no party preference.” Latino likely voters (59%) are less likely to be registered Democrats than black likely voters (81%) but more likely than Asian (45% Democrats, 28% Republicans) or white (37% Democrats, 39% Republicans) likely voters. Latino voters are about as likely to identify themselves as politically liberal (34%) as they are to call themselves middle-of-the-road (33%) or conservative (33%). By contrast, whites (41%) are more likely to consider themselves conservative than liberal (32%) or moderate (27%). Blacks and Asians are slightly more likely to be liberal (37% blacks, 38% Asians) than conservative (28% blacks, 30% Asians).
  • Latino likely voters are most likely to live in Los Angeles.
    Four in 10 Latino (38%) and black likely voters (41%) reside in Los Angeles, while nearly six in 10 Asian likely voters reside in the San Francisco Bay Area (32%) or Los Angeles (25%). White likely voters are spread across the state, with about one in five residing in the San Francisco Bay Area (22%), Los Angeles (20%), Orange/San Diego Counties (19%), and the Central Valley (18%).
  • Latino likely voters are more likely to be young, less educated, and less affluent.
    Half of Latino likely voters (52%) are under age 45, compared to fewer Asian (44%), black (35%), and white likely voters (27%). Latinos have the highest share of likely voters under age 35 (31%), while 52% of white voters are age 55 and older. Latino likely voters (25%) are least likely to be college graduates, followed by blacks (31%), whites (41%), and Asians (71%). Among Latino likely voters, 46% have household incomes of less than $40,000, while 24% earn $80,000 or more. Nearly half of white (46%) and 50% of Asian voters earn $80,000 or more. Among black likely voters, 43% make less than $40,000, while 28% make more than $80,000.
  • There are slightly more women than men among Latino voters.
    Women represent about half of black (55%), white (53%), and Latino (51%) likely voters but a smaller share of Asian likely voters (58% men, 42% women). Among Latino likely voters, 37% are immigrants, compared to six in 10 Asian likely voters (57%) and far fewer blacks (8%) and whites (5%).

Sources: Seven PPIC Statewide Surveys from September 2013 to July 2014, including 7,525 likely voters. 2000 U.S. Census, 2012 American Community Survey. California Department of Finance.