Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Election Results Show Latino Voters Have Mixed Views About Their Political Parties

Will Latinos turn Nevada red? Are Democrats losing Hispanic voters? To answer the driving questions leading up to the midterm elections are no and some, according to the election results.

With races beginning to be called, Democrats see that Latinos have not forgotten them and were critical in their victories. Most Democrats won the majority vote of Latinos in this election; however, Republican candidates attracted larger shares of support from Latinos than in previous elections.

“Republicans didn’t have as good a night as they thought they would. Democrats didn’t have as bad a night as they thought they would,” said Clarissa Martinez De Castro, vice president of the Latino vote initiative at UnidosUS, a civil rights and advocacy group.

Democrats saw solid support in states like Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Texas. In Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto’s win clinched control of the Senate for Democrats with 62% of Latinos voting for her, NBC News exit polls show. In Arizona, 58% of Latinos supported Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, and in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott finished with 2 percent fewer Hispanic voters than in the last election. In Pennsylvania, 68 percent of Latinos voted for Democrat John Fetterman in the Senate race, and 72 percent voted for Democrat Josh Shapiro, who won in the governor’s race.

Republicans saw tight Latino margins in the congressional races in South Texas, where one congressional seat was won instead of three, and in California. Both parties are sending Latinos to Congress.

“The shift that happened was sustained and real,” said GOP consultant Mike Madrid about Latino support for Republican candidates. The new national Hispanic baseline is in the high 30s, and Madrid thinks “that’s a pretty remarkable turn of events in the face of a strong year for Democrats or a bad year for Republicans.”

Gabe Sanchez, vice president of research at BSP Research, a Democratic polling firm, said Republican outreach helped reduce perceptions that the GOP is hostile toward Latinos, creating a bridge opportunity for the group.

Sanchez says that Republicans were focused on addressing inflation problems and the cost of living. Still, BSP data showed that voters were not as angry about their economic situation as in previous elections and were not directing that anger at Biden.

“It was diffused, said Sanchez. “It was not like the tip of the spear to Democrats the way Republicans thought it would happen, and that was a failed opportunity to talk to Latinos about a wider range of issues.”

Raw data shows GOP increases in Latino votes in the state “flatlined” or were “very, very anemic” compared to 2020.

For many voters, their priorities change throughout their lifetime. The conservative shift in Latinos is seen with those 60 years or older, and older voters are more likely to turn out than young voters.

“What pundits get wrong is either taking Latinos for granted as a base vote that is going to act in a certain way no matter what the environment or the outreach,” Martinez de Castro said.