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The Party Line is dedicated to examining regional issues and policies through the figures who give shape to them. These are critical, complex, and even downright confusing times we live in. There’s a lot to navigate nationally and in the Carolinas; whether it’s elections, debates on gay marriage, public school closings, or tax incentives for economic development. The Party Line’s goal is to offer a provocative, intelligent look at the issues and players behind the action; a view that ultimately offers the necessary insight for Carolina voters to hold public servants more accountable.

The Latino Vote In North Carolina

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In a recent posting at NBC Latino, Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto noted that she during her time in the North Carolina, she came to find a growing and vibrant Hispanic/Latino community.

And in a recent opinion piece, she believes that “the importance of Latinos is just as big in the smaller state of North Carolina” as it is in traditional Latino swing states such as Nevada or Florida.

According to the 2010 Census, North Carolina had 800,120 who identified as either Hispanic or Latino out of 8.7 million residents, or 9 percent of the state’s total population.  This was an increase of 111% from the 2000 census.

Soto notes that, according to the website LatinoVoteMap.org, NC Hispanics/Latinos make up 3%, or 182,000 voters, of the state’s electorate.

As of September 22nd, there were slightly over 102,000 Hispanic/Latino voters registered in the state, making them about 2% of the 6.4 million registered voters.

I’m not sure where exactly the LatinoVoteMap web site is getting its information, but with Obama’s 2008 margin of victory in North Carolina at only 14,000 votes, it isn’t hyperbole to say that every vote is going to count this year as well. 

And the partisanship of the 102,000 registered Latino voters could be the difference in this coin-toss election.

About 40,000 Latinos voted in 2008. Nearly half (48 percent) were Democrats. Thirty-two percent were unaffiliated, and 204 percent were Republicans.

Mecklenburg and Wake counties had the highest number of Hispanic/Latino voters.

But Hispanic/Latino registered voters made up only 0.9% of the total N.C. electorate. 

And while Hispanic/Latinos are now 16% of the U.S. population (according to the 2010 Census) and continues to grow, the 2008 national exit polls had Latinos at 8% of the electorate. But that figure could hit double-digits in this year’s election.