Texas Latino Voters Still Being Ignored Three Weeks Out From Election 2018

Oct 17, 2018
3:38 PM
Originally published at Latino Decisions

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) (L) and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) face off in a debate at the KENS 5 studios on October 16, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Tom Reel-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C.Less than three weeks before Latino voters head to the polls for the 2018 midterm elections, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund and Latino Decisions released toplines and Texas crosstabs for the seventh wave of its ten-week national tracking poll of Latino registered voters.

Results from the seventh week of the NALEO Educational Fund/Latino Decisions Weekly Political Tracking Poll offer exclusive insights into the Latino electorate nationwide this year, including newly released crosstabs that breaks down data for surveyed Latino voters in Texas by age, gender, voter propensity status, and more.  Latino Decisions interviewed 384 Latino registered voters in Texas between August 28 – October 15, 2018 for the survey, which carries a margin of error of 5.2 percent.

The Latino electorate is expected to play a decisive role in Texas in Election 2018, with NALEO Educational Fund projecting that more than 1,107,000 Latino voters will cast ballots in the state’s general election next month, an expected increase of 1.4 percent from Election 2014.

“Despite Texas playing host to several competitive contests where Latinos could play a decisive role this, we are once again seeing Latino voters in the Lone Star State being ignored by candidates and campaigns,” stated Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund chief executive officer.  “As history has showed us time and time again, it is not enough to rely on excitement or anger to drive Latinos to the polls.  Our nation’s political parties and candidates need to invest in meaningful outreach efforts in order to make their case and give Latino voters a clear reason why they should show up to support them on Election Day.”

“For the first time in 25 years Latinos in Texas are facing a competitive statewide election that is up for grabs”,” said Matt Barreto, co-founder of Latino Decisions and Professor at UCLA.  “The Latino vote in Texas is poised to be crucial to determining who wins the U.S. Senate election and both candidates need to work hard in the final weeks to contact and communicate with Latino voters.  Campaigns cannot take any voters for granted – voters show up when they feel inspired and connected to candidates.  Because Texas has not had a history of Latino mobilization, there is more work that needs to be done to make voters feel included and inspired.”

Key findings from the Texas crosstabs include:

  • Texas Latino voters are ready to make their voices heard in Election 2018. More than 70 percent of Latino voters in Texas stated they were almost certain to vote, with registered voters who were likely voters (90 percent), over the age of 50 (90 percent) and foreign-born (79 percent) accounting for those most likely to express this level of enthusiasm for Election 2018.
  • Election 2018 is more important to the Texas Latino electorate than 2016. Compared to the 2016 presidential election, 62 percent of Latino voters in Texas view participating in Election 2018 as more important than in 2016.  Only 13 percent of Texas Latinos placed a higher importance on the last presidential election, with Latina voters in the state (17 percent) and those aged 18-29 (26 percent) the most likely to think that voting in Election 2016 was more important than this year.
  • Despite the importance placed on this year’s elections, Latino outreach and engagement issues continue in the Lone Star State. With less than three weeks left to go, we are still not seeing a significant uptick in outreach to the Texas Latino electorate.  A majority of Texas Latino voters (58 percent) report that they have yet to be contacted by a candidate or political party.  Among those polled, Texas Latino voters who are over the age of 50 (71 percent), female (65 percent) and foreign-born (63 percent) were the most likely to report being ignored.
  • Democrats are doing a more effective job reaching Latino voters in Texas up to this point, but there is still a lot of work to be done before Election Day. Only 42 percent of Latinos report being contacted, with Democrats the most likely to engage them (64 percent – compared to 26 percent for Republicans).  Less than one in 10 voters reported being contacted by a non-partisan organization, which is closely tied to the ongoing lack of funding for non-partisan engagement efforts in recent years.
  • Immigration and the economy viewed as top issues for Texas Latino voters. When asked what the most important issues facing the Latino community are, Lone Star Latino voters ranked protecting immigrant rights (29 percent), improving wages/incomes (24 percent), and creating jobs (16 percent) as highest.  Climate change (2 percent) and reproductive rights (4 percent) had the least traction with the Latino voters surveyed in Texas

As we near Election 2018, NALEO Educational Fund will continue its efforts to ensure that Latino voters have the information necessary to make their voices heard at the ballot box.  These efforts include operating our toll-free bilingual hotline 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682) that provides Latino voters with information on every aspect of the electoral process, from registering to vote, to voter ID requirements, to finding their polling place.  On Election Day, the hotline will be connected to the Election Protection efforts and 1-866-OUR-VOTE, offering Latino voters nationwide a bilingual resource to get assistance and report any problems they may experience at the polls.

To view the methodology and full toplines for week seven of the ten-week tracking poll, visit http://www.latinodecisions.com/files/2015/3970/2798/LD-NALEO_2018_tracker_-_Week_7.pdf.

To view the methodology and Texas crosstabs for week seven of the ten-week tracking poll, visit http://www.latinodecisions.com/files/8315/3971/8951/LD-NALEO_2018_Texas.pdf.

To view NALEO Educational Fund’s 2018 Texas election profile, visit https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/naleo/pages/190/attachments/original/1519929347/2018_TX_Primary_Profile.pdf?1519929347.