March 7, 2008

The Hispanic Vote in the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primaries

III. Demographic Characteristics of Hispanic Voters in Feb. 5 Democratic Primaries

Age. Hispanic voters on Super Tuesday were much younger than white or black voters.4 The relative youth of the Hispanic vote is largely a reflection of the relative youth of the Hispanic population overall.5 More than one-in-five Hispanic voters on Super Tuesday were ages 17 to 29, and more than half were under 45 years of age. Fewer than one-in-five Hispanic voters were ages 60 and older.

Hispanic voters are youthful particularly when compared with non-Hispanic white voters. Only one-in-ten white voters was ages 17 to 29 and one-in-three whites was ages 60 and older.

Education. Hispanic voters on Super Tuesday were less likely to have attended college or have a college degree than white or black voters. Of Hispanics, 65% have more than a high school education, compared with 81% of whites and 74% of blacks. By contrast, 12% of Hispanics had not finished high school, compared with 3% of white voters in the Super Tuesday Democratic primaries and 5% of black voters.

Income. Half of all Latinos who voted in the Super Tuesday Democratic primaries had a family income of $50,000 or more, similar to the share of black voters. Two-thirds of white voters had that level of family income.

Church Attendance. Regular churchgoers form a sizable share of the Latino Democratic electorate. More than four-in-ten Latino voters in the Democratic primaries attend church at least weekly, while just 15% said they never attend church. Latino voters were more likely than white voters to be regular churchgoers, but less likely than black voters to go to church weekly.

  1. The analysis in this section is based on Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International’s National Election Pool Exit Poll Surveys of 16 states that held primaries on Super Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008. These 16 exit polls were aggregated and weighted into a single dataset for Hispanic, white non-Hispanic, and black non-Hispanic voters. The sample size for the aggregated Hispanic voter dataset was 1,809 survey respondents. The sample size for the white non-Hispanic voter dataset was 11,558. The size for the black non-Hispanic voter dataset was 3,120. The 16 states in this aggregated analysis are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah.
  2. Detailed demographic information on the Hispanic population can be found in the recent Pew Hispanic Center publication, Statistical Portrait of Hispanics in the United States, 2006.