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New ethnic voters fortify California Democratic majorities

November 19, 2012 |  1:50 pm

Voters, reflected in a mirror, cast their ballots for the 2012 election at the Sue B. Dance Company in Altadena. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Democrats' overwhelming victory in California on election day was driven by Latino, Asian and African American voters, who made up a record 40% of the state’s electorate, according to exit poll data.

Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, said that despite the fact that non-Hispanic white voters favored GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney over President Obama by eight percentage points, Obama carried the state by 20 points, rooted in his strong support among the state’s ethnic voters.

Proposition 30, the tax-hike plan backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, also emerged victorious because of strong support from non-white voters. “White non-Hispanics divided their votes evenly ... [but] ethnic voters collectively supported it by 20 points, giving it its entire margin of victory,” DiCamillo said.

The data is an ominous sign for California Republicans, who hold no statewide elected offices and have seen their numbers fall below one-third in both the state Senate and Assembly.

Since 1994, the state has added about 3.5 million new voters. Roughly 2 million of those have been Latino and 1 million are Asian Americans, according to numbers from the Field Poll. Reaching those new voters will be a challenge for the state GOP as they lick their wounds from their latest electoral defeat.

These new voters seem to have a different view about the role of government in the lives of its citizens than many of their white counterparts.

While white voters were evenly divided about whether the government should do more to solve the nation’s problems, ethnic voters, by a 2-1 margin, believed that government should be doing more, network exit polling found.


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-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo: Voters cast their ballots in the 2012 election at the Sue B. Dance Company in Altadena. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times