Washington - More than 13 million Latinos are expected to vote in November's US presidential election - almost two million more than in 2012 - according to a study released Tuesday.
The total could be even higher depending on which candidates the Republican and Democratic parties nominate and how effectively they reach out to the increasingly influential Latino community, said the report from the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).
Latinos are already affecting voting patterns in some swing states such as Colorado, and NALEO executive director Arturo Vargas said no one camp could claim to own their loyalty.
"With more than 13.1 million Latinos expected to head to the polls to make their voices heard, no candidate or political party can afford to take our support for granted if they want to win the race for the White House," he told reporters.
The group's diverse nature means "no one can expect Latinos to vote for a candidate just because he has a Latino name or speaks some Spanish," Vargas said.
Young voters make up a higher proportion of Latinos than of other ethnicities in the United States, making the youth vote an especially important demographic.
Nearly half of Latino voters are millennials.
The number of Latino voters has increased by at least 17 per cent in each presidential election from the previous one since 2004.
NALEO says its latest figures represent a conservative estimate in a country with 27.3 million eligible Latino voters.
The largest number lives in Texas, where Latinos represent 39 per cent of the population and 23 per cent of registered voters, nearly one in four people.
The Democratic Party's caucuses in Nevada on Saturday were the campaign's first vote to involve a large contingent of Latino voters.
Although Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders by around five per cent, polls so far have not made clear who benefited from the Latino vote.
The only conclusion to be drawn is that "no one can put the Latino vote in one box anymore," Vargas said.
In the 2012 election, 71 per cent of Latino voters helped re-elect President Barack Obama, who made immigration reform a major campaign pledge - though his plans were later blocked by the Republican-controlled Congress.
Hopes for immigration reform took another blow this year when Republican frontrunner Donald Trump promised to deport 11 million illegal immigrants and build a giant wall along the Mexican border.
That set the tone for a Republican race that features two candidates with Cuban parents: Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
Still, as the candidates campaign in primaries across the country, one certainty their strategists can count on is that the fast-growing Latino vote is changing the future of US politics.
Almost two-thirds of Latinos living in the United States were born in the country, NALEO's study shows. Of those under 18, 94 per cent were born on US soil, a clear sign of generational change.
An estimated 53 million Latinos currently live in the Unites States, and their number is projected to rise to some 86.7 million by 2035 and around 128.8 million by 2060.