Government Research Intern: Justin Perez

Title: The Texas Flip: A County-by-County Look at Hispanic Population Growth and Its Political Impacts

Author: Justin Perez

Summary:

With the ever-growing Hispanic population in this country and specifically in the state of Texas, it is imperative that one look at the demographics with respect to their impacts on national, state, and local elections. Collection of population and voting record data was essential to this study; just as essential was the campaign expertise of political leaders, pundits, strategists, and analysts from across the nation. From the information collected one is able to deduce the potential impact of the Hispanic vote, county by county, in the State of Texas.

The data collected for this research came from two credible sources. Population data were collected from the State of Texas Demographer, based on the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Census. The population data were used to interpolate the 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008 estimated population; as well as to extrapolate the 2014 & 2016 estimated population. Election results and voter data were collected from the Office of the Texas Secretary of State, specifically the Presidential and Gubernatorial returns from 2000 to 2012.

The research revealed that as the Hispanic population increases in a county, so do the number of Democratic voters. While a direct correlation can never be established, a presumable correlation is present. There is a visible consistent presence of Republican voters. Republican voter data suggest little to no change in the number of voters, while Democratic Voters have increased (from 2000 to 2012). This is precisely what leads to a flip or sway in which party receives a majority of a county’s votes.

These data combined with the campaign expertise of political leaders, pundits, strategists, and analysts from across the nation provide a roadmap for campaign strategy across the state and create a greater dialog about the Hispanic vote. In order to speak with these experts I traveled to Washington D.C. with my professor, Sean Theriault, and several other research students who went armed with questions about their own research. The trip provided my classmates and I the opportunity to speak with those who deal with projects like ours on a daily bases. We met with chiefs of staff, archivists, bipartisan committee chairs, the U.S. House of Representatives Parliamentarian, and several other political pundits strategists, and analysts.

It is expected that as the Hispanic population grows, interest in their voting habits will as well. The data collected through this study will help to strategize get out the vote efforts and provide factual information about the voting Hispanic population in Texas. Talk about the sleeping giant, Hispanics who do not vote is a common occurrence. This study will provide truth to this statement and provide factual information about the implication of a higher Hispanic voter turnout.