Latino voters are now about as evenly split between the Democratic and Republican parties as the overall electorate, according to the results of a new poll by the Wall Street Journal.
If the 2022 midterm elections were held today, 37 percent of Latinos would vote for the Republican congressional candidate while another 37 percent would vote for the Democrat, with 22 percent undecided. This comes a year after Democrats made gains in the House of Representatives with 60 percent of the Latino vote.
In a rematch of the 2020 presidential race, 44 percent of the Latinos asked said they’d vote for President Biden while 43 percent said they’d reelect former President Trump. Biden beat Trump last year with 63 percent of the Latino vote.
“Latinos are more and more becoming swing voters,” said John Anzalone, a Democratic pollster whose company conducted the Wall Street Journal Poll alongside the firm of Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio. “They’re a swing vote that (Democrats are) going to have to fight for.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Aaron Zitner notes that Latinos represent one in every eight voters “and are one of the fastest-growing groups in the electorate, factors that compound Democratic fears about any deterioration in support.”
Interestingly enough —though it may come as no surprise to some— Latino men leaned Republican much more than Latinas, due largely to economic concerns, with Latino men saying Republicans have a better economic policy and Latinas saying Democrats were better with the economy, by a margin of 10 points. Most men said they wanted the country to return to Trump’s program while most Latinas favored sticking with Biden’s.
Forty-two percent of the Latinos asked said they approved of President Biden’s performance while 54 percent disapproved, matching closing with the general public’s ratings of 41 percent and 57 percent, respectively.
The poll only surveyed 165 Latino voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 7.6 points, but the results confirm the trend we’ve been seeing in the Latino electorate for some time now. Trump, for instance, won more Latino voters in 2020 than in 2016, by a margin of eight points according to the firm Catalist, with huge swings toward the GOP in South Florida and the Rio Grande Valley. And last month Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, won the governor’s race in Virginia after outpolling his Democratic opponent, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, among Latino voters in the state.
“Analyses by various groups have cited a range of causes for the shift, including higher turnout among the most conservative Hispanic voters, GOP success in persuading voters who turn out infrequently and frustration over job losses due to pandemic-related business shutdowns,” Zitner writes.
Only one in four Latinos expressed a positive outlook on the economy, while a solid majority, 63 percent, said the economy was headed in the wrong direction. Latinos told pollsters that Republicans were not only better with the economy but also better at lowering the deficit and securing the border, while they thought the Democrats were better at handling the COVID pandemic, rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, and making healthcare more affordable.