Entries in Census (4)


Booming Hispanic Populations Could Tip Scales in 2012 Election -- As presidential candidates make their campaign schedules, they might want to consult the latest census data.  A report out this week shows that 22 of the country's 100 largest cities are now majority minority cities, meaning there are now more minorities than whites in almost a quarter of America's biggest metropolises.

Almost all of this minority growth is due to a booming Hispanic population, a group that both parties are courting leading up to the 2012 election.

Over the past decade the Latino population has increased from 35.3 million in 2000 to 50.5 million in the 2010, according to census data.  More than 9 percent of all eligible voters were Hispanic in the 2010 elections, up from 8.6 percent in 2006.

And in a close election, that 9 percent could make the difference between victory and defeat.

"Hispanics can be an important swing vote in swing elections," said William Frey, a demographer with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, who wrote the report.  "They don't have a majority of the electorate by any means, but they have enough in close election to swing it."

Already, presidential candidates are making pointed efforts to court Latino voters.  The first ad put out by the Democratic National Committee this election cycle was in Spanish and President Obama made a trip to Puerto Rico in June -- the first presidential trip to the U.S. territory in 50 years.

Several GOP presidential candidates have scheduled appearances at Hispanic events including Mitt Romney, who will be in Florida Thursday to address the Republican National Hispanic Assembly.  In January, fellow Republican candidate Tim Pawlenty also made a stop in Florida to meet with the Hispanic Leadership Network Conference and candidate Newt Gingrich has a Spanish-language twitter account.

And while Hispanics have historically voted for Democrats, they are "clearly not as strongly Democrat in their vote" as, for example, African Americans, almost 90 percent of whom voted Democratic in the past three elections, Frey said.

In 2008, 67 percent of Latinos supported Obama at the polls and in the 2010 midterm elections 60 percent cast a ballot for Democratic representatives, according to national exit polls.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Redistricting Battles Begin: Is Your Congress Member in the Line of Fire?

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Several veteran members of Congress could soon find their jobs in the line of fire as redistricting efforts get underway around the country.

From New York, which will lose two U.S. House seats, to Ohio, which will lose the same number, Democrats are particularly vulnerable this time around in the once-a-decade process that's rife with partisan bickering.

Meanwhile, population growth in heavily Republican states has given the GOP an upper hand.  Texas will gain four House seats, the most of any state.  Florida will gain two seats, and Arizona and Georgia one each.

"Republicans are in the best position that they've been in for redistricting in the modern era of redistricting across the country and especially in these states that are gaining seats, like Texas," said Tim Storey, a redistricting analyst at the National Council of State Legislatures.

In states such as New York that are mostly Democratic controlled but losing seats, the party faces the stark reality of pitting its members against each other, as in the case of Rep. Louise Slaughter, who represents a district in upstate New York.

Then there's talk of Republicans targeting Democrats such as Rep. Dennis Kucinich in Ohio and Rep. Frank Pallone in New Jersey, whose districts have too few people and need to be enlarged.

Republicans took over at least 19 Democratic-controlled state legislatures in November and gained more than 650 seats, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, meaning they control much of the redistricting processes around the country.

In most states, redistricting maps have to be approved by the state House, Senate and the governor.  New boundaries have to take into account population changes, demographic shifts and minority representation.

Partisan "gerrymandering" isn't always a matter of one party increasing outright the number of districts that they know will favor them.  It mainly occurs by redrawing the district so that it displaces rival party members and puts them in a whole new district with less favorable demographics.

Democratic political insiders say it's too early to speculate what the end result might be.  Others foresee a brutal fight.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Former Rep. Frost: ‘At Least Two’ New Texas Seats Will Go Democratic

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Texas was the big winner in the 2010 Census, with the latest count of the population set to deliver four additional House seats to the heavily Republican Lone Star State.

But that doesn’t necessarily straight GOP pick-ups in the 2012 congressional elections.

On ABC’s Top Line Thursday, former Rep. Martin Frost, D-Texas, who has focused extensively on census and redistricting matters for years, said that because so many of the new Texans are Latinos who tend to vote Democratic, Texas is likely to send several new Democrats to Congress.

“At least two of the seats are gonna be [majority] Hispanic -- might even be more than that, we'll see how it plays out. At least two, and maybe three” of the new seats are likely to be held by Democrats, Frost said.

He also added that Republicans will want to secure their recent gains in House races by putting more Republican-leaning voters in already GOP-held districts. And, he said, GOP lawmakers in Texas are limited in the gerrymandering they can pursue because of special oversight by the Justice Department, to ensure equal treatment of racial and ethnic minorities.

Frost cast skepticism on whether the legislative burst we’ve seen in late 2010 can carry over into 2011.

“I hope so, but with a Republican House, it's gonna be a lot harder to have real bipartisanship,” he said. “You still have a Democratic House here [in the lame-duck session of Congress] and so, this is gonna be much tougher. I hope it can happen, but I wouldn't bet too much on it.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Census Moves 12 Congressional Districts

Photo Courtesy - Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Census data released Tuesday led to a seismic shift in the allocation of Congressional seats, with Republican-leaning Sun Belt states gaining seats and Democratic-leaning Rust Belt states losing.

Every 10 years, after the census gauges population shifts, government officials divvy up the nation's 435 seats in Congress. This year's census data resulted in a shift of 12 seats across 18 different states.

As demographic and redistricting experts predicted, Texas was the big winner, picking up four new House seats and capping seven consecutive decades of gains. The state now has a total of 36 seats.

Florida was second with two more seats, with the smaller Sun Belt states of Georgia, South Carolina, Arizona, Utah and Nevada picking up one each, and northwest Washington grabbing one as well. All but one of the gaining states have a Republican governor, implying long-term damage to Democrats for future elections.

The biggest losers were in the Northeast and Midwest, with New York and Ohio losing two seats each. Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania each lost one.

The congressional gains also mean a change in Electoral College votes. If the 2008 Presidential election had been held with the newly reapportioned Congress, President Obama would have gotten six fewer electoral votes; the growth was primarily in states that favored his opponent, John McCain.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio