A majority of Latino voters believe that the United States is on the wrong track, according to a new poll from two Latino civil rights organizations.
Abortion is also among the top five issues for Latinos according to the survey released by UnidosUS and Mi Familia Vota, with more than 70 percent of respondents saying abortion should remain legal regardless of their personal beliefs.
More than half of respondents (59 percent) said they are 100 percent sure that they would vote in the midterm elections this fall. A bit over half said they planned to vote for a Democratic House candidate in the midterms, while 22 percent said they would vote for Republicans.
Twenty-one percent remained undecided.
“Latino voters’ interest in participating in the 2022 midterms is an opportunity, not a guarantee of voter turnout,” said Mi Familia Vota executive director and CEO Héctor Sánchez Barba in a statement. “To turn out Latino voters, both parties must invest in reaching our community like they would any other valued constituency. Sadly of those polled, only 29% and 19%, respectively, say Democrats or Republicans have contacted them.”
The poll surveyed 2,750 Latino eligible voters in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Florida, including both registered and unregistered voters. Conducted at the end of July, the survey has an overall margin of error of ±1.9 percentage points.
Respondents across states and demographic groups ranked inflation, crime, and jobs as top priorities for elected officials to address. They also listed rising costs of living, gas prices, accessibility to guns, and low pay as some of their greatest concerns.
When it came to their views on equality, democracy, and the American dream, most respondents said Democrats were closer to their personal beliefs. More than half called the Democratic Party “effective,” while 45 percent said the same of the Republican Party.
“The Latino electorate is grumpy, fearful about the economy, but overall sees its values and issue positions more aligned with Democrats than Republicans,” said Gary Segura, co-founder and president of BSP research. “Abortion politics are decidedly more important than in the past for this group of voters, who regardless of their personal beliefs, solidly reject taking that right away from everybody else. And that includes Catholic and non-Catholic Christian Latinos.”
Respondents least prioritized the issues of immigration reform, border security, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although immigration did not make the list of top five issues, respondents said they wanted reform that paves a path to citizenship. Seventy-one percent agreed that if Congress doesn’t pass a comprehensive immigration reform law, executive action must be implemented.
A majority of respondents (74 percent) agreed that President Joe Biden shouldn’t use the situation at the border as an excuse for not protecting undocumented immigrants who have lived and worked in the country for many years.
As Latino voters call for a system that leads to citizenship for immigrants, more than half of Americans said there’s an “invasion” at the southern border, according to an NPR/Ipsos poll.
The poll discovered that a great number of Americans’ perceptions of immigrants, including their role in smuggling illegal drugs in the U.S. and their likelihood to use public benefits, are based on growing, misleading claims.
Republicans are more likely to hold negative views of immigrants, but the poll found that the perception depends on more than just party affiliation. Republicans who cited Fox News or other conservative news sources (91 percent) were more likely to believe it’s somewhat true that the U.S. is experiencing an invasion at the southern border than Republicans who get their news elsewhere (71 percent).
“As the second largest group of voting-age Americans, with many not yet solidly aligned with either party, Hispanic voters can be a stabilizing force in American politics. They reject extremes, oppose taking away rights —as illustrated by their views on abortion— and want to see progress on challenges facing our country and elected officials willing to work together to get things done,” Clarissa Martínez De Castro, vice president of the Latino Vote Initiative at UnidosUS, said in a statement.
Chantal Vaca is a summer correspondent for Futuro Media based in New York City and a graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism. Twitter: @VacaChantal