Report: Number of Hispanic voters up 4 million from 2012
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The number of eligible Hispanic voters in 2016 is estimated to be 4 million more than in 2012, according to a new report from Pew Research Center. 

A report released Tuesday found that there will be a projected 27.3 million Latinos able to vote in the upcoming election, a voting bloc that could potentially upend the presidential race where immigration has become a hot-button issue. 

That number is up from 23.3 million eligible Hispanic voters in 2012 and 19.5 million in 2008, according to the Pew report 

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“The number of Hispanic eligible voters has grown at one of the fastest clips of any group over the past eight years, and is projected to be 40% higher in 2016 than in 2008,” the report said.

That will bring the proportion of all eligible voters who are Latino to 11.9 percent, almost even with black voters, who will comprise 12.4 percent of U.S. voters, Pew said. 

But whether Hispanic voters will turn out to vote this year is still a question, said the Pew report, which noted that among eligible Hispanic voters, fewer than 48 percent voted in the 2012 election while about 64 percent of white voters and nearly 67 percent of black voters went to the polls.

The Latino electorate, which historically leans Democratic in presidential election years, is a critical voting bloc for the eventual nominees in the general election. 

In the 2012 election, GOP nominee Mitt Romney lost the Latino vote by more than 40 percentage points to President Obama. Some experts say Republicans will need to pass that threshold in order to win the White House.

According to a July analysis from polling firm Latino Decisions, the GOP nominee will likely need to garner 47 percent of the Latino vote nationally in order to obtain a majority of the popular vote. 

Tuesday's report also found that 44 percent of the projected 27.3 million Latino eligible voters in 2016 are between the ages of 18 and 35. There will be an estimated 11.9 million Latino millennials who will be of age to vote. 

According to the projections, around 3.2 million young Latinos who are U.S. citizens will become eligible to vote between 2012 and 2016. 

The rhetoric surrounding immigration, primarily from GOP hopefuls, could potentially encourage higher turnout among the growing number of Latino voters. 

GOP front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Trump Jr. declines further Secret Service protection: report Report: Mueller warned Manafort to expect an indictment MORE’s stump speech centers on beefing up border security and has railed against “amnesty” for illegal immigrants. He’s previously compared Mexican immigrants to “rapists” and has made bombastic comments toward other minority groups.

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea GOP state lawmakers meet to plan possible constitutional convention MORE (R-Texas), another leading GOP contender, has also ramped up his critique of the current immigration system, going one step further than Trump that he opposes legal citizenship for immigrants who were previously deported. 

A challenge to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration could also be a driving force in the 2016 election and subsequently, voter turnout.

The Supreme Court announced on Tuesday it will hear a case challenging a pair of Obama’s executive orders that would halt deportations and provide work permits to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents and to some undocumented immigrants who brought into the country before age 16.