With the Latino vote crucial to the electoral success for either party in the 2016 election a new study is calling into question Latinos’ support for the Democratic Party and whether or not that support will hold in future elections. Democrats have traditionally been able to rely on the same voting blocs for their base of support for decades. That support typically includes Latinos due to the party’s focus on immigration, healthcare access, economic and pocket book issues.
In the 2013 election, 71% of Latino voters voted for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney for president. Some in the Republican Party see a glimmer of hope for bring down that support for the Democrats.
With more than half of Latinos regularly attending church where they are exposed to more conservative messages that align with the Republican Party, GOP leaders aim to rely on social issues to persuade a growing number of Latinos to back more Republican candidates.
The study, released in conjunction with Univision, notes that a full 55% of Latinos between the ages of 25 and 54 identify neither as strongly Democrats or strongly Republican signaling that the group votes more for individual candidates at the ballot box rather than for party affiliation and that a voting bloc previously thought to be unwinnable for the GOP could be within reach given the right candidate and message.
Democrats meanwhile can point to the fact that although strong party affiliation is low among Latino voters, a strong majority of those “persuadable” voters, 28%, vote predominantly for Democrats versus 11% for Republicans. In other words, those who characterize themselves as independent tend to choose a side and stick to it in each election and the side they choose is more commonly the Democratic ticket.
The study was conducted over the summer of 2015. No word yet on what affect recent inflammatory comments regarding non-traditional GOP voters, Muslims, by GOP front runner Donald Trump and other candidates will have on Latino voters’ perception of the current GOP field.