Hispanic Population Growth Boosts Democrats

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Ordinarily, you’d look at the three open US Senate seats in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico and say: “two for the Republicans and one for the Democrats.”  The two for the Republicans would be Arizona and Nevada.  The one for the Democrats would be New Mexico.  And then you’d never think about it again.Here’s the “however” part. 

The demographics of the American southwest are changing.  The states there are getting more Hispanic.  Fewer white voters and more Hispanic voters tilts the playing field away from the GOP.  National Journal‘s Josh Kraushaar notes:

All (three Senate races) will provide insight on a pressing question facing the GOP: Can it make inroads with the region’s Hispanic population?

It’s one of the biggest concerns for Republican strategists, with exit poll data showing whites making up a declining share of the electorate (down to 74 per cent in 2008, from 81 per cent in 2000), and Hispanics as the fastest-growing demographic.

Winning two out of these three would show they can compete in Hispanic battlegrounds. But if they can’t attract minorities, they face a challenging road.

The net result of this demographic shift is that, for the moment, most analysts look at the three open US Senate seats in the southwest and say: Republicans win Arizona, Democrats win New Mexico and Nevada is a toss-up.