Under the Dome

Latino vote could be important in North Carolina

While North Carolina's Hispanic vote is small, it could play an important role in the 2012 elections because the state is so closely divided, according to a report by a Latino advocacy group.

“North Carolina will exhibit the growing impact of the Hispanic vote,'' said a report by the National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy group. “In 2008, Hispanics in North Carolina voted in numbers greater than the margin of victory, which would point to an increasingly influential electorate in that state.”

The report said there are 181,690 registered Hispanic voters in North Carolina or 2.7 percent of Tar Heel voters. During the 2008 elections, Hispanic voters made up 1.8 percent of the electorate, or more than enough to influence an election in which Democrat Barack Obama defeated Republican John McCain by a 14,177 vote margin.

La Raza lists states with large Latino populations where the Hispanic vote can have an impact because of its size: New Mexico, Texas, California, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

Then it lists states with small Latino voting populations but which can have a big political impact because the states are so competitive: Rhode Island, Virginia, Oregon, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

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