The rapid growth of the Latino population has been a subject of intense public attention since the 2000 Census reported a 58% increase over the 1990 total and later Census Bureau estimates concluded that Hispanics had surpassed African Americans in number.
The California electorate is sharply split along racial and ethnic lines with Latino, African American, Asian American and white voters expressing distinctly different views of the recall, of Gov. Gray Davis' performance in office, of the candidates seeking to replace him and of the racial classification initiative (Proposition 54).
The nation's 35 million Hispanics comprise nearly 13 percent of the population. However, there are a far smaller number of Hispanic voters.