Friday, May 24, 2024

Head of NALEO expects 7.8 million Latinos to vote in midterms

The head of a national Latino organization said yesterday that 7.8 million Latinos are expected to vote in this year’s elections, a 15 percent increase over 2014, but lower than in 2016.

Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), delivered the numbers in a Washington news conference and in a report. The group has made a tradition of releasing expected Latino voting totals that have generally been close to the final numbers.

Already, 5 percent of registered Latino voters have said in a tracking poll conducted for NALEO by the polling firm Latino Decisions that they have voted, Vargas said. “Latinos are ready to make their voices heard,” Vargas said.

There has been great interest in how Latino voting will fare this year, the first Congress-wide election since President Trump took office. There have been expectations of increased Latino turnout in response to Trump’s rhetoric about Latinos and policies that have affected the community, including on immigration and health care.

Some political pollsters and consultants have said Latino interest and enthusiasm in voting is down and cause for Democrats to worry since Latinos tend to vote for Democrats. Despite the outreach issues, Vargas said enthusiasm and mobilization are high among Latinos because of “self-mobilization.”

According to the Latino Decisions poll, 69 percent of those surveyed said they have encouraged friends or family to vote. “Our research over the years about effective and credible messengers and mobilizers to get Latinos to vote (shows) that it’s family members who are the most trusted … in particular, Latinas in the household — mothers, wives, girlfriends, sisters, abuelitas — are catalysts for civic participation,” Vargas said, using the Spanish word for grandmothers.