Saturday, May 18, 2024

Elizabeth Warren’s campaign trailing behind with Latino voters

The signs at Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s San Diego rally had a familiar look — bold capital letters on a trademark “liberty green” background — but with a twist. “Soñar en grande,” they blared, “Luchar con todo” — a Spanish translation of her campaign slogan “Dream Big, Fight Hard.”

Her steady climb in presidential primary polls has placed her firmly at the front of the Democratic pack. But among Latino voters, her ascent has been more sluggish than soaring; Warren has consistently lagged in polls behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with Latino voters.

Now the Massachusetts senator is playing catch-up, not only in increasing her familiarity among Latinos, but also in building a campaign apparatus to court them. Winning over this constituency will be vital for her success in the early-voting state of Nevada, as well as delegate troves such as California and Texas, which will vote on March 3.

“She began her campaign with a deficit among Latino voters, and she is truly an unknown to the Latino electorate,” said Arturo Vargas, chief executive of NALEO Educational Fund, a nonprofit that promotes civic engagement among the community. Warren needs a “robust effort” to “really introduce her to the Latino electorate, first as a candidate who understands Latinos,” Vargas said.

Recent polls show the work still to be done. Two California surveys — one by the Public Policy Institute of California and another conducted for the Los Angeles Times by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies — show Warren leading or effectively tied for first with Biden among voters overall, but trailing Biden and Sanders by double digits among Latino voters. A Suffolk University/USA Today poll in Nevada showed the same dynamic. “She goes from being a top-tier candidate to a second-tier candidate among Latinos,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC’s president.