A First: Minority Vote Proportionate to Population in CA

America is becoming less white and more diverse - but that diversity has not been reflected in the ballot place, until now - at least in California. Historically, voters were whiter and older than the actual population.
December 11, 2012, 10am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Daniel Weintraub, editor of the California Health Report, writes that California has reached another demographic 'tipping point'. Non-white groups are now voting in proportion to their numeric population, and that spells big problems for Republicans who have largely played to their white, conservative members, and counted on many voters of color to not show up at their voting places.

"It appears that for the first time, California Latinos, Asian-Americans and blacks voted last month in numbers roughly equivalent to their share of registered voters. About 40 percent of California’s electorate is now non-white. And ethnic voters made up about 40 percent of those who mailed in their ballots or went to the polls Nov. 6."

 Ethnic make-up of California electorate now and in 1994, according to the independent Field Poll:

  • 60 percent white; was 73%
  • 23 percent Latino; was 15%
  • 10 percent Asian-American; was 5%
  • 6 percent black; unchanged

The Democratic orientation of minorities explains why "last month, Mitt Romney managed to win the white vote in California by 8 percentage points while losing the state in a landslide, by 22 points", writes Weintraub.

But it's not just national elections where the ethnic voters are crucial.  They were "decisive in the approval of Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to raise income and sales taxes to help balance the budget. White voters were evenly split on the measure but minorities approved it by 20 points, giving it the margin it needed for victory."

Contributor's note: "HealthyCal.org is an independent, non-profit journalism project supported with initial funding from the California Endowment. The site’s mission is to inform Californians about public health and community health issues, to engage readers in an ongoing conversation about matters ranging from health care policy to land-use, transportation, environment, criminal justice and economic policy, and to show how all of these things are connected."

Full Story:
Published on Sunday, December 9, 2012 in California Health Report
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