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Impact of Latino Vote Limited by Numbers, Location

 / Updated 
Image: U.S. Citizens Head To The Polls To Vote In Presidential Election
File photo of a voter in Los Angeles, 2012Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

The number of Latinos eligible to vote has grown by an estimated 3.9 million since 2010, but geography and competitiveness of political races will limit the impact of Hispanics in this year's elections.

A report released Thursday by Pew Research Center on the Latino electorate said Latinos, who make up 11 percent of all eligible voters nationally, are a small share of voters in most states with competitive Senate and gubernatorial races.

Of the eight states with close Senate races, only in Colorado do Latinos exceed their national share of the electorate.The only other state where the share is above 5 percent is Kansas, where it is 6 percent.

The impact on the 14 House races varies by congressional district, but 96 percent of Hispanic voters and 97 percent of all voters live in districts without close congressional races, Pew stated.

Similarly, in three of the nine states with competitive gubernatorial races, the Hispanic eligible voter share exceeds 10 percent _ Florida, 17.1 percent, Colorado, 14.2 percent and Connecticut, 10.3 percent.

Pew’s research also shows that Latinos’ views on some issues on state ballots differ from other voters.

In Florida, which has the fifth highest share of Latino voters in the country, a measure to legalize marijuana for medicinal use is on the ballot. Nationally, 47 percent of Latinos support legalizing marijuana.

Latinos also are split on the issue of abortion, with 48 percent nationally saying it should be legal in most cases. Access to abortion and birth control are on the ballot in Colorado, North Dakota and Tennessee.

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials projects 7.8 million of 25.2 million Latino eligible voters will vote this year, about 31 percent. In 2010, 6.6 million or 31 percent of 21.2 million Latino voters cast ballots.