Report: 3% of Iowa voters are Latino

(CNN)The percentage of Latino voters in Iowa, the largest minority the state, has increased over a 14-year span -- but not by a lot, according to a new report.

Just 3.1% of eligible voters in Iowa in 2014 were Latino, which is steady growth from 1990 when less than 1% of the voting population was Latino, according to a recent report by CNN en Español and City University of New York reveals.
The data also show that out of eligible Latinos, 80% of the voters are of Mexican descent.
The report comes as presidential candidates are gearing up for Monday's Iowa caucuses, holding last-minute rallies over the weekend in the Hawkeye State.
    Iowa has predominantly a white population, according to the U.S. Census bureau. In 2014, 92.1% of Iowa residents were white, compared to the statistics of the United States population as a whole, where 77.4% of the population is white.
    But Laird W. Bergad, who led the research in the study, said in a general election, many battleground states -- Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and New Hampshire -- have a small, but potentially influential percent of Latino voters.
    "It's quite ironic that there's a very small percentage of Latinos who may very well decide the outcome of the 2016 election," he said.
    For example in 2012, Virginia's Latino voters made up just 2.2% of the population, but their support of President Barack Obama nudged him past GOP nominee Mitt Romney to win the state by less than 1%.
    Maria Bribriesco, the deputy director in Iowa for the League of United Latin American, says that a motivated Hispanic voting bloc can help sway elections.
    "The people that participate, participate wholeheartedly," she said, referencing Latinos in the state. "When the population is energized and they bring out new voters, that is when that candidate will win Iowa."
    Another report about Latino voters released Thursday by CNN en Español and City University of New York shows that voter registration rates among Latinos has remained steady at 58% between 1992 and 2012, even though Latinos have had well publicized voter registration drives.