Latinas, similarly to white and African American women, have been voting in much higher numbers than men. In 2008, 70 million American women voted, almost 10 million more than men, according to the U.S Census. A recent NBC Latino article states that 34.3 percent of eligible Latinas voted in the last election, while only 29.1% of Latino men did. Latinas are voting more now than ever before, and politicians who ignore the Latina vote do so at their own peril.
Much of the population growth in the 18-49-year-old market will be made up of Hispanic women. That is an important fact, considering that the Hispanic market is already at 52 million – and projected to represent the bulk of population growth during the next five years. So it’s not surprising that Latinas are a key voting bloc this election year.
We heard this insight and much more from the publisher of People en Español, Monique Manso, at this year’s AHAA (Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies) conference, a comprehensive advertising and marketing industry event dedicated to the U.S. Hispanic market.
So we took a close look at what is influencing the Latina vote – from the traditional media that Latinas consume, to their role models and the new up and coming media that is reflecting their influence and interests:
- Celebrities – From Nely Galan to Sonia Sotomayor, from business leaders to civic leaders, Latinas look up to the women who are great role models for them individually and as a group.
- English language – The English language media Latinas consume includes both those that have a cultural relevance (i.e. VOXXI, NBC Latino, Latina, HuffPost Latino Voices) as well as those that do not provide culturally-directed content (i.e. Oprah Magazine, The New York Time’s Motherlode blog).
- Organizations: Latinas follows key organizations that empower them and the communities they belong to – from the National Latina Business Association to the National Council of La Raza.
- Legacy media: Latinas are heavy consumers of legacy media in both Spanish and English. On a local level, that may be The Miami Herald, on a national level The New York Times, as well as programs different as CNN en Español and Univision’s Viva La Familia.
Politicians seeking the Latina vote also need to keep in mind the changing perspectives of today’s Latinas.
- Latinas are more affluent now than ever before, and more and more of them are opting to work outside the home and achieve financial independence.
- Latinas are taking inspiration from successful women – Latinas or non Latinas – while still holding on strong to her cultural identity.
The Latina living in the U.S. is as multifaceted as the media she follows. She is highly informed and highly influential. The campaign that courts the Latina vote will have to target the diversity of the Latina identity. As Dee Dee Blasé, founder of the National Tequila Party Movement (a female-led political movement), has said, “In order to get the Latina vote, it’s not about putting a vice presidential candidate with a Hispanic name on the ballot, but about the record, and what you stand for.”
Natalie Boden is the founder and Managing Director of BodenPR. She is a member of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence and the U.S Department of State’s Pathways to Prosperity. She is an active participant in Vital Voices, bringing visibility, training and mentoring to Latin female business owners.