by Marc Schulman
Hispanic voters have not traditionally voted as a block; with Cuban-Americans traditionally voting Republican and other groups often voting for Democrats. In recent years, as immigration has become an important issue on which the Republicans take a hard line, more and more Hispanics have started voting for Democratic candidates.
Hispanic Americans are not monolithic in their socio-economic standing or history. As a result, Hispanic Americans, have not traditionally identified with any one party. In the past, the Republican Party could count on support from Cuban Americans, because of the traditional Republican strong anti-Castro policy. Other Hispanic groups do not share the same concerns about the Cuban policy. There has always been an expectation that Republicans might gain support from Hispanics due to some of their shared conservative social values.
In the 2004 Presidential election President Bush received 40% of the Hispanic vote. The Hispanic vote represented 19% of the overall vote in that election. President Obama managed to win 57% of the Hispanic vote, even in Florida (a state whose Hispanic population has historically given its vote to Republicans.) The reason for the rapid decline in support for the Republican Party amongst Hispanic voters in the past five years has been the increasingly more stringent anti-immigrant policies endorsed by the party.
It is important to note that the Hispanic vote in the United States has grown (from 8% of voters in 2004 to 9% in 2009).