Lack of Outreach Still Major Issue for California Latino Voters in Election 2018

Oct 22, 2018
9:14 AM
Originally published at Latino Decisions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Less than three weeks before 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 California crosstabs for the seventh wave of its 10-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 California by age, gender, voter propensity status, and more. Latino Decisions interviewed 528 Latino registered voters in California between August 28–October 15, 2018 for the survey, which carries a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

The Latino electorate is expected to play a decisive role in the Golden State in Election 2018, with NALEO Educational Fund analysis showing that nearly 7.7 million Latino voters will be eligible to cast ballots in the California’s general election next month.

“Despite California playing host to several competitive contests where Latinos could play a decisive role, we are once again seeing Latino voters in the Golden State being overlooked by candidates and campaigns,” stated Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund chief executive officer. “As history has shown 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.”

“California is at the forefront of the control of the U.S. House with Latino voters playing a critical role in as many as seven toss-up congressional seats,” said Matt Barreto, co-founder of Latino Decisions and Professor at UCLA. “Both parties 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. With six Latinos running for statewide office, there is a good chance of seeing increased Latino turnout in California.”

Key findings from the California crosstabs include:

  • California Latino voters are ready to make their voices heard in Election 2018. More than 69 percent of Latino voters in California stated they were almost certain to vote, with registered voters who were over the age of 50 (87 percent), likely voters (80 percent) and male (72 percent) accounting for those most likely to express this level of enthusiasm for Election 2018.
  • Election 2018 is more important to the California Latino electorate than 2016. Compared to the 2016 presidential election, 64 percent of Latino voters in California view participating in Election 2018 as more important than in 2016. Only nine percent of California Latinos placed a higher importance on the last presidential election, with those aged 18-29 (15 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 Golden State. With less than three weeks left to go, we have yet to see a significant uptick in outreach to the Latino electorate in California. A majority of California Latino voters (61 percent) report that they have yet to be contacted by a candidate or political party. Among those polled, California Latino voters who are over the age of 50 (69 percent) and foreign-born (66 percent) were the most likely to report being ignored.
  • Democrats are doing a more effective job reaching Latino voters in California up to this point, but there is still a lot of work to be done before Election Day. Only 39 percent of Latinos in California report being contacted, with Democrats the most likely to engage them (49 percent, compared to 24 percent for Republicans). Less than 15 percent of 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 job creation viewed as top issues for California Latino voters. When asked what the most important issues facing the Latino community are, Golden State Latino voters ranked protecting immigrant rights (24 percent), creating jobs (23 percent) and improving wages/incomes (22 percent) as highest. Reproductive rights (two percent) and stopping Pelosi and the Democratic agenda (three percent) had the least traction with the Latino voters surveyed in California.

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 10-week tracking poll, see below:

To view the methodology and California crosstabs for week seven of the 10-week tracking poll, visit see below:

To view NALEO Educational Fund’s 2018 California election profile, click here.