Latinos are the largest ethnic minority group in the country and around 20% of voters nationwide are Hispanics. In some states— New Mexico (47.7%), California (39.4%), Texas (39.3%), Arizona (30.7%), Nevada (28.7%) and Florida (26.5%)— over a quarter of the population is Hispanic and if they voted as a bloc, which they don’t, they would determine who wins and who loses elections. Trump and the GOP made some serious inroads into Hispanic communities in 2020, although a Gallup survey last year showed that 56% of Hispanic Americans identified as Democrats or as independents who lean towards the Democratic Party, while 26% identified as Republican or as leaning toward the GOP, not much change over the last decade.
The fact that Latinos have weaker partisan attachments to either political party— particularly younger Latinos— makes them more of a swing group up for grabs. This was especially evident in South Texas, Nevada and Florida in 2020.
A study of 2020 Latino voters in Texas, Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico and Colorado, released by UCLA’s Latino Policy & Politics Institute in July, shows that Latino voters supported Democratic candidates in the Senate contests by wide margins in all 5 states— no drop off whatsoever.
Latino voters supported the Democratic Senate candidate over the Republican candidate by at least a 3-1 margin in Arizona, Colorado, and Georgia.
Latinos favored the Democratic senate candidate by about a 2-1 margin in New Mexico and Texas.
By contrast, in the states we analyzed, the majority of white voters supported both Donald Trump and the Republican candidates for Senate.
They also found that in 4 of the states— not Texas— the Democratic Senate candidates outperformed Biden with Latino voters.
In Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico, between 2% and 3% of Latino voters split their ballots by voting for Donald Trump and the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.
In Georgia, a state that flipped from Republican to Democrat in both the Presidential and U.S. Senate elections, the Democratic candidates in the 2021 Senate runoffs outperformed Joe Biden by more than 10 percentage points.
In Texas, where the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate lost to the Republican incumbent by more than 10% of the vote, Latino voters did not split their ballots and supported Biden and the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate at similar rates.
The authors explained that the data shows “that despite the overwhelming support for Democrats among Latino voters, a not insignificant number are persuadable swing voters. However, the data do not confirm a massive or uniform defection away from the Democratic Party. Latino voters still chose the Democratic candidates over the Republican ones by great margins… In states including Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, and New Mexico, Latino voters played a vital role in flipping or securing Senate seats for Democrats. In Texas, where the Democratic candidate lost to the Republican incumbent, the Latino electorate proved influential enough to make the Democratic challenger competitive. Our report further contradicts the premise that the Latino electorate had a uniform shift toward Republican candidates. However, despite the overwhelming support for Democrats among Latino voters, a sizeable number are persuadable swing voters. As the Latino electorate continues to grow, these swing Latino voters can be decisive in very competitive races. Heading into the 2022 midterm election cycle, candidates from all political parties must understand the growing importance of this electorate and the need to invest in culturally competent and sustained voter engagement and mobilization strategies if they want to earn their votes.”
Writing for the NY Times this morning, a trio of reporters, noted that “How Latinos will vote is a crucial question in the November elections and for the future of American politics. Hispanic voters are playing a pivotal role in the battle over control of Congress, making up a significant slice of voters— as high as 20 percent— in two of the states likeliest to determine control of the Senate, Arizona and Nevada. Latinos also make up more than 20 percent of registered voters in more than a dozen highly competitive House races in California, Colorado, Florida and Texas, among other states.” They endeavored to explain a new poll Siena College did for the paper, which “found that Democrats had maintained a grip on the majority of Latino voters, driven in part by women and the belief that Democrats remained the party of the working class. Overall, Hispanic voters are more likely to agree with Democrats on many issues— immigration, gun policy, climate. They are also more likely to see Republicans as the party of the elite and as holding extreme views. And a majority of Hispanic voters, 56 percent, plan to vote for Democrats this fall, compared with 32 percent for Republicans. But the survey also shows worrying signs for the future of the Democratic message. Despite that comfortable lead, the poll finds Democrats faring far worse than they did in the years before the 2020 election. Younger male Hispanic voters, especially those in the South, appear to be drifting away from the party, a shift that is propelled by deep economic concerns. Weaknesses in the South and among rural voters could stand in the way of crucial wins in Texas and Florida in this year’s midterms.”
Democrats have long assumed that the growing Latino electorate would doom Republicans, and the prospect of an increasingly diverse electorate has fueled anxieties among conservatives. The 2020 election results— in which Trump gained an estimated eight percentage points among Hispanic voters compared to 2016— began changing both parties’ outlooks. The Times/Siena poll shows that historic allegiances and beliefs on core issues remain entrenched, though some shifts are striking.
While majorities of Hispanic voters side with Democrats on social and cultural issues, sizable shares hold beliefs aligned with Republicans: More than a third of Hispanic voters say they agree more with the G.O.P. on crime and policing, and four out of 10 Hispanic voters have concerns that the Democratic Party has gone too far on race and gender. Hispanic voters view economic issues as the most important factor determining their vote this year and are evenly split on which party they agree with more on the economy.
… Republicans are performing best with Hispanic voters who live in the South, a region that includes Florida and Texas, where Republicans have notched significant wins with Latino voters in recent elections. In the South, 46 percent of Latino voters say they plan to vote for Democrats, while 45 percent say they plan to vote for Republicans. By contrast, Democrats lead 62 to 24 among Hispanic voters in other parts of the country.
A generation gap could also lead to more Republican gains. Democrats, the poll found, were benefiting from particularly high support among older Latino voters. But voters under 30 favor Republicans’ handling of the economy by 46 percent, compared with 43 percent who favor Democrats.
Republicans also have strength among Latino men, who favor Democrats in the midterm election but who say, by a five-point margin, that they would vote for Mr. Trump if he were to run again in 2024. Young men in particular appear to be shifting toward Republicans. They are a key vulnerability for Democrats, who maintain just a four-point edge in the midterms among men younger than 45.
The Times/Siena poll provides a glimpse of Latino voters who have traditionally supported Democrats in the past but plan to vote for Republicans this fall: They are disproportionately voters without college degrees who are focused on the economy, and they are more likely to be young, male and born in the United States but living in heavily Hispanic areas.
…Republicans attempting to court Latino voters have repeatedly painted Democrats as elitist and out of touch, but the poll suggests that strategy is having limited success.
Nearly six in 10 Hispanic voters continue to see the Democrats as the party of the working class. While white Republicans uniformly see themselves as the working-class party, even some Hispanic Republicans believe that mantle belongs to Democrats. And there was no evidence in the poll that Republicans were performing any stronger among non-college-educated Latinos or among Hispanics who lived in rural areas, two key demographic groups they have focused on for outreach. One in four Hispanic voters in rural areas remain undecided about who they will vote for in November.
So what happens when Latino voters figure out that large— and dominant— segments of the Democratic Party do not represent the working class but are, instead, tied to Wall Street and the donor class (and have been since Bill Clinton reoriented the party in that direction)? What happens when “done deal” Hakeem Jefferies, a career-long Wall Street whore, becomes the House Democratic leader next year? A realignment could come very fast and with very deadly consequences for a party that is increasingly identifying itself as “the lesser evil” non-MAGA party.
The most corrupt conservative Democrat in the California state legislature is Mod-Squad leader and Oil and insurance industry patsy Rudy Salas. The Democrats decided to run him against David Valadao in a heavily Latino Central Valley district. The partisan lean in the very swingy district went from D+9 to D+10 and Salas is likely to win. He is also likely to quickly show Latino voters-- and everyone else-- just how really bad the Democratic Party can be when it comes to representing the interests and the legitimate aspirations of the working class.