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Is the Next Generation of Hispanic Voters Shifting Libertarian?


"Millennial Hispanics, unlike their parents, grew up as native-born Americans.”

(AP Photo)

Despite traditionally identifying with Democrats, Hispanics are calling themselves libertarian at just about the same rate as whites, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

(AP Photo) AP

The number has sparked optimism from conservative and libertarian media outlets, which credit a younger generation in a demographic that's been increasing steadily in the United States.

The Pew survey found that a total of 11 percent of Americans call themselves libertarian. Among whites, that increases to 12 percent, closely followed by Hispanics, 11 percent of whom said the term describes them. Just 3 percent of blacks said they were libertarians.

Townhall columnist Rachel Burger wrote that 65 percent of American Hispanics are between the ages of 22 and 35, the age group most likely to be libertarian.

“Since immigration from Mexico has all but reversed due to America’s poor economy, most of the Hispanic population growth in the U.S. comes from second- and third-wave Hispanic Americans,” Burger wrote. “In other words, millennial Hispanics, unlike their parents, grew up as native-born Americans.”

Further, younger Hispanics — as is the case with younger people in other demographics — are more likely to support legalizing marijuana and gay marriage.

Split along gender lines, American men are more than twice as likely as women to be libertarians at 15 percent to 7 percent.

College graduates are also more than twice as likely to be libertarians than people who only graduated from high school, 15 percent to 7 percent. A 2012 Pew survey found that Hispanics have the highest college enrollment of any minority group in the United States.

Reason's Elizabeth Nolan Brown pointed to previous polling that found that Hispanic millennials are far more likely to identify themselves as political independents and slightly more likely to identify themselves as Republican than Hispanics who are 65 or older.

"None of this necessarily means millennial Hispanics are more likely to identify libertarian than older Hispanics," she wrote. "While it certainly seems plausible that they're driving the trend, there's no hard evidence in either the Pew study or Burger's piece to back this up. The Pew study did note that millennials in general were slightly more likely than older cohorts to identify as libertarian."

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