More Latinos are registering to line up at the polls in Arizona and San Diego, Calif. than ever before, new stats indicate. (Photo : Reuters)
Analysts who have been predicting that the Latino vote would have a significant impact in the 2012 election have been rewarded with record Hispanic turnouts to the polls in Arizona and San Diego, Calif.
The Huffington Post reported Monday that projections in Arizona have recorded more than 111,000 Latinos in the state have voted early, which dwarfs the previous mark for Hispanic voters in Arizona in 2008.
The projections come from the civic group Promise Arizona Action, which claims that the new record turnout numbers are indicative that civic participation has increased this year in Arizona.
"This year, at least 111,975 Latinos in AZ have already voted early," a statement from the group released Monday reads. "That is already a 28 percent increase in the number of Latinos who voted early this year compared to 4 years ago. This proves that Latinos are turning out to vote in unprecedented numbers across Arizona this year."
In addition, the group claims that the number of Latino voters on Arizona's Permanent Early Voting List has increased statewide by 39 percent this year to 251,752 Hispanics on the list. The number dwarfs the roughly 180,800 Latinos on that list in the 2008 election.
"These numbers reflect what our volunteers have been seeing while speaking to voters at their doors," Promise Arizona's Petra Falcon told the Huffington Post. "The Latino community here is experiencing an awakening of civic engagement. Latino voters are really excited and enthusiastic about voting this year."
Earlier this month, as Arizona-based news site KTAR.com reported, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials estimated that 359,000 Latinos in Arizona will vote this year, up from about 291,000 in 2008.
This could potentially provide a late boost in the polls to President Barack Obama, who has been widely favored by Hispanic voters in most polls ahead of GOP candidate Mitt Romney. In addition, it could provide a detrimental blow to controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a Republican who has made his name cracking down on illegal immigration in the state.
Arpaio is up for reelection this month against Democrat Paul Penzone.
If recent projections are correct, Obama stands to win a historic amount of the Latino vote today, with Latino Decisions releasing a poll this week stating that the president is in place to win a record 73 percent of Hispanic ballots, surpassing Bill Clinton's benchmark of 72 percent in 1996, the LA Times reports.
Arizona isn't the only place seeing a surge of Hispanics at the polls. According to the San Diego County Registrar, more than 40,000 new Latino voters have registered countywide, NBC San Diego reported Monday.