Minority Vote Not As Important In Upcoming Primaries, Experts Say
“In most Republican primary contests, the minority vote simply isn’t that big of a factor,” said Kyle Kondik, political analyst at University of Virginia Center for Politics.
He pointed out that exit polls from the 2008 Republican primary shows that in Michigan, which is holding an important primary on Tuesday, 96 percent of voters were Caucasian. In Arizona, which is also holding its primary Tuesday, 90 percent of voters are Caucasian. But Arizona is an outlier because of its larger than average Hispanic population, as is Florida, where more than four of every five Republican voters in this year’s primary were white.
“By and large, voters in state-level Republican primaries are largely white, which means that these Republican presidential candidates probably aren’t spending a lot of time designing specific appeals to different racial groups,” Kondik said.
Elaine Kamarck, lecturer in Public Policy Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, agreed with Kondick's assertions about the the minority vote. She said African-Americans are mostly Democrats, so they don’t vote in Republican primaries.
“They play a very large role in Democratic primaries but not in Republican primaries. The Latino vote in Florida is largely Cuban and has been a historically Republican vote,” she said.
However, that doesn’t mean candidates will not take minority voters seriously in the general election.
“Obviously, as the Republican Party goes forward, they would like to at the very least bring more Hispanic voters into the fold, and whoever the nominee is will try to design appeals to Hispanics in the general election,” Kondik said.
Reach Shako Liu here.