Published Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014 | 2:25 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014 | 5:47 p.m.
Lucy Flores won the Hispanic vote in Tuesday's election but she lost big in her race for lieutenant governor because of low turnout among Democrats and a popular Republican slate led by Gov. Brian Sandoval.
About 71 percent of registered Hispanic voters considered highly likely to vote cast ballots for Flores, according to an election eve poll by Latino Decisions, a national, nonpartisan polling firm.
With 54 percent of that group identifying as Democrats, Flores pulled a significant amount of Hispanic voters across the party line.
Sandoval, who is Hispanic and strongly endorsed Flores' opponent, Mark Hutchison, made significant progress among Hispanic voters since 2010. The incumbent governor was helped, though, by the lack of a strong challenger this year.
In the same Latino Decisions poll conducted in 2010, 15 percent of Hispanic voters picked Sandoval. This year, Sandoval pulled in 47 percent, according to the survey.
In 2010, Democrat Rory Reid earned 84 percent of the Hispanic vote compared to just 52 percent for Democrat Bob Goodman this year, according the survey. Unlike Reid, Goodman lacked resources and his campaign did not attract much attention.
“Sandoval ran virtually unopposed, but that is a shocking decline in the Hispanic voter support for the Democratic candidate compared to four years ago,” said Latino Decisions principal Matt Barreto in a Wednesday morning press conference.
Barreto said Sandoval’s work in his first term -- including designating money for English Language Learner education, signing off on driver’s privilege cards and approving the expansion of Medicaid in Nevada -- were all popular moves with a majority of Hispanic voters.
In 2012, Hispanic voters made up 12 percent of the Nevada electorate. The figures are not available yet for 2014, but the Hispanic share of the voting population typically dips in midterm years and analysts predicted a weak turnout for Hispanic voters on Tuesday. By comparison, Hispanics account for 27 percent of Nevada's total population.
In the 2006 midterms, just 54 percent of Nevada’s registered Hispanic voters cast a ballot, but in the 2008 presidential election the figure soared to 91 percent.
Overall, 157,728 fewer votes were cast in the 2014 lieutenant governor’s race than the 2010 race. In 2010, a heated race between Sen. Harry Reid and challenger Sharron Angle and a tight competition for governor helped drive turnout.
More voters hit the polls, and 2010 Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Jessica Sferrazza took 42 percent of the vote in losing to incumbent Brian Krolicki. Flores, meanwhile won 34 percent of the vote to Hutchison’s 59 percent.
According to Pew Research Center, Hispanics made up just 6 percent of 2014 likely voters nationwide, while they constituted 10 percent of the national electorate in 2012.
The Latino Decisions election eve poll surveyed 400 registered Hispanic voters in Nevada in Spanish and English using both cell phones and land lines. It has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.