5 Things You Didn’t Know about Latinos in Arizona and Michigan

You think you know Hispanics in today's two primary states? Guess again. Here's 5 things that will surprise you.
1) There are a lot more than you think. It's probably not a surprise that there are close to 1.9 million Hispanics in Arizona. That's almost 30 percent of the state's population, and the fourth largest Hispanic population in the country. But who knew there were nearly half a million -- 436,358, to be exact -- in Michigan? That's less than 5 percent of that state's population (and 36th largest Latino population in the country), but skip ahead to the next factoid for a note on how fast that's changing.
2) The Great White North is becoming less so. Michigan's non-Hispanic white population is shrinking. According to the Census, the state's white population shrank 3.6 percent between 2000 and 2010. Doesn't sound like much? Well, it's about 278,762 people either dearly departed, or just plain departed.
The Latino population, on the other hand, is a sharp contrast. It's booming. Big time. It shot up 34.7 percent in the same 10 years. That means 112,464 more Hispanics.
3) Lots can vote, but maybe not today. There were 766,000 eligible Hispanic voters in Arizona in 2010. That's 18 percent of all eligible voters in the state. Only about 15 percent are registered as Republicans, though. Another 37 percent are independents. Both of those groups can vote. Only Democrats can't.
Michigan had 183,000 eligible Hispanic voters in 2010, according to the Pew Hispanic Research Center. That's only about 2 percent of all eligible voters in the state. All of them can vote, if they want to. Michigan's primary is open to anyone who says they want to vote Republican.
4) Immigration matters ... Not! Well, it does in Arizona. But probably not in the primary. The state's strict illegal immigration crackdown law, S.B. 1070, has brought a backlash from Latinos. Hispanics are credited with helping recall the Arizona Senate president who sponsored it -- the first time a sitting legislator has been ousted that way in the state's history.
In the 2008 presidential election, before the law's passage, nearly 41 percent of the state's Latinos voted in favor of Sen. John McCain, compared to 56 percent who supported Barack Obama. Two years later, after Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1070 into law, the state's Hispanics voted for McCain's Democratic opponent 78 percent to 22 percent. It was significant, but not enough to stop McCain's reelection (or Brewer's, who did even worse among Hispanics -- nabbing just 14 percent of the Latino vote).
5) Romney has won, and lost, here before. In 2008, Romney lost Arizona to Sen. John McCain in the primary there by more than 68,000 votes. It's hardly surprising that McCain won, with 47.2 percent of the vote. Arizona is his home state. Romney came in second with 34.5 percent. Michigan, though, was another story. Romney beat McCain there by more than 80,000 votes. Their finish was the opposite of the outcome in Arizona.
Romney came in first with 38.9 percent of the vote. McCain got 29.7 percent.

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