Nearly 60% of California voters cast their ballots during this year’s gubernatorial election. Though California always puts up big numbers compared to other states, this year was the state’s highest turnout for a governor’s election. Four years ago 56.2% of registered voters visited the ballot box. “The race for governor and some controversial propositions drew the highest number of people to the polls in five gubernatorial elections,” said Secretary of State Debra Bowen.
But as turnout heightens, the demographics of California’s electorate are changing. According to New American Media’s Nina Martin, the state’s voting population is no longer primarily composed of older Caucasians.
According to the PPIC poll released Wednesday night, Democrat Jerry Brown beat billionaire Republican Meg Whitman for governor by capturing a staggering 75 percent of Latino votes. Democratic Senate incumbent Barbara Boxer, meanwhile, won 62 percent among Latinos to beat her Republican rival, Carly Fiorina.
Whites, on the other hand, narrowly chose Whitman over Brown (49 percent to 47 percent), and Fiorina over Boxer (49 percent to 48 percent).
Latinos make up approximately 20 percent of the state’s registered voters, a number that is certain to climb over the next few years as young Latinos come of age. (They now comprise 51 percent of students in California public schools.)
California’s Latino and minority communities continue to grow, and observers are predicting several changes in the electorate as a result. The impact could be staggering. Just ask Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who some project will seek a bid for governor in four years, or Kamala Harris, the recently elected first African American Attorney General of the state.