Messaging Components & Issue Influencers for the 2024 Latino Vote

Selected Excerpts by V. Lance Tarrance from Recent Public Sources  

  • The Latino vote…could potentially tilt the outcome of any election in Texas, and how candidates have developed messaging strategies to this ethnic group is the big topic today. As the United States’ Latino population expands, so does debate on how to reach Latino voters. Both major U.S. Parties are reassessing strategies after surprises in 2020 and in recognition of the diversity and complexity of this growing demographic.
  • Why do Democrats appear to be losing support among Latino voters? It does seem that Latino voters are voting less often for – at least at the presidential level – Democratic candidates…the declining support trend among Latino voters is from Obama to Hillary Clinton to Joe Biden.
  • But, this is indeed happening in other ways around the country.

 TEXAS COMPONENTS

  •  The Latino Total Eligible voters are defined as all those 18 yrs. plus, total population, whereas Total Registered voters are only those listed as legally qualified at the county level. Total Turnout are only those who personally cast a ballot (3 different concepts)

1. The Latino total population in Texas grew from 9.5 million to 11.4 million.

2. The state’s Latino total population grew from 37.7 percent to 39.3 percent.

3. Latinos are projected to be the next largest plurality population subgroup in Texas.

4. About 28% of Texas total registered voters  are  Latino and registered to vote in their county of residence (2020); that % number is higher than in 2018 which was 21 %.

5. In 2022, about 8 Million Texans cast ballots out of about 17 million total registered (45 % participation)…Hispanics were 28% of the total turnout (estimated Hispanic turnout was 4.3 million).

  • Per the Pew Research Center, the top 3 states with the highest percentage of eligible Latino voters in 2020 were: New Mexico (42.8%), California (30.5%), Texas (30.4%).
  • Nine Others: Arizona (23.6%), Florida (20.5%), Nevada (19.7%), Colorado (15.9%), New Jersey (15.3%), New York (14.8%), Connecticut (12.3%), Illinois (11.6%), and Rhode Island (11.3%).
  • Approximately 57.9 percent of U.S. citizen adult Latinos (18 and older) were registered to vote at the time of the 2004 election, and 47.2 percent of those turned out to vote.
  • The voter registrationand turnout rates are approximately 10 percent lower than those of non-Latino blacks and 18 percent lower than those of non-Latino whites.

TEXAS INFLUENCERS

  •  There is a significant amount of literature dedicated to what influences Latino vote choices. One strong determinant has been found to be religion, which is believed to play a role in defining the political attitudes and behaviors of Latino voters.
  • …The Latino National Political Survey has found a consistent finding that Latinos identify themselves ideologically as moderates and conservatives. Social conservatism usually originates from religion…
  • …Democratic party appeals to issues such as immigration and healthcare, while the Republican party tends to campaign on social issues and religion-based appeals.
  • Political ads have also been studied to determine how they influence Latino voting behavior. In one study, it was concluded that different political ads influence Latino vote choices depending on how assimilated individuals are to American life. For Spanish dominated Latinos, political ads that tapped into ethnic identity seemed to be the most influential.
  • On the other hand, for assimilated Latinos, ethnic appeals did have some influence but exposure to more informative policy ads in English or Spanish had a greater impact on these voters’ decision to vote.
  • According to the National Exit Poll (in 2012), 60% of Latino voters identified the economy as the most important issue the country was facing. Education is also a constant preoccupation among Latino voters. Latinos emphasize education, mentioning such issues as expanding the number of schools, reducing class sizes, and adding to the cultural sensitivity of teachers and curricula.
  • Other educational concerns expressed by Latinos include ensuring that children are able to advance to the next educational level. Following the economy and education, health care (18%), the federal budget deficit (11%) and foreign policy (6%), were other concerns among the Latino population.
  • However, Latino voters proved that they were not monolithic. But In Florida, Trump earned strong Latino support among both Cubanand South American communities in Miami-Dade County, and earned 46% of the overall Latino vote in Florida, much higher than his 35% showing in 2016. This shift occurred due to anti-Socialist messaging by Trump’s campaign.

 NATIONAL COMPONENTS

  • How many Latinos live in the United States today?  Well, the 2020 Census in the United States revealed that there were 62.1 million people who said that they’re Latino and are currently living in the country… that population number has grown rapidly.
  • Latino population growth- Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups, racial and ethnic groups, in the United States today.  And it is important to note is that they have accounted for about half of the nation’s population growth since 2010, and even before that, into the 1990s, about half of U.S. population growth since then has come from growth in the U.S. Hispanic population.
  • How big is the Hispanic population compared to other groups of Americans.  Particularly, Hispanics make up almost one in five Americans today, and that’s up from less than 5 percent back in 1970.  And when you look at it compared to black Americans and Asian Americans, you’ll see that the nation’s Latino population is larger, and it’s larger sometimes by multiple factors compared to some of those other groups. A large part of U.S. population growth has come just from Latinos.
  • The Latino population has been dispersing across the country…These are places like Tennessee, Vermont, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Louisiana.
  • In fact, about half of the Hispanic population is in California and Texas alone, so about half of that 62 million live in just those two states.  And if you include Florida, New York State, New Jersey, Illinois, you’ll start to get up to three-quarters of the Hispanic population in just a handful of states.
  • …the share of the population of Hispanics in 2019 who trace their roots to Mexico make up the majority of the Hispanic population, about 62 percent.
  • …about 10 percent of the Hispanic population are also Puerto Rican.  About 4 percent are Cuban or Salvadoran.  Another 3.4 percent are Dominican.
  • In summary there are 37.2 million Hispanics who say they are of Mexican origin.  And there are 5.8 million people of Puerto Rican origin living in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia who trace their roots to the island of Puerto Rico.  So, these are all the groups that have at least a million people or more.
  • What happened in 2020?  Well, in 2020 Joe Biden won 59 percent of Latino voter support compared to 38 percent for Trump.  That means that Trump narrowed the margin of victory among Latino voters for Joe Biden compared with 2016 and Hillary Clinton.
  • And so from PEW’s validated voters study, we’re able to take a look a 2016 and 2020.  And one of the things that’s important to note here is that about 10 percent of all U.S. voters are Hispanic, and so Hispanics are now rivaling – they’re almost the same size as the number of black voters in terms of voter participation in recent elections.  You can see in 2016 10 percent versus 10 percent; in 2020, 10 percent versus 11 percent.
  • In any given year, about 1 million U.S.-born young Latinos enter adulthood and become potential voters.  And so, over the course of four years – between, say, presidential cycles – you might have about 4 million or more Latinos who become eligible to vote (18 yrs. plus).  Also, many Latinos become U.S. citizens as they naturalize to become citizens, and about a quarter of the gain in the number of Latino eligible voters in any given year is due to people who choose to naturalize.
  • What about voter turnout rates?  Well, for midterm years, here is, according to the Census Bureau, the pattern in voter participation rates among those who are at least an adult U.S. citizen.  And you could see what the pattern generally has been. Hispanics oftentimes trail other groups of Americans.   In 2014, for example, the voter turnout rate for Hispanic eligible voters (18 yrs. plus) was 27 percent.  For whites, by comparison, it was 46 percent, and for black Americans it was 40.6.

 NATIONAL INFLUENCERS

  • So, 61 percent of Hispanics today say that abortion should be legal, and this is up from about 55 percent 10 years ago, but Latinos have oftentimes been a little bit slower in changing their views here compared to other groups when it comes to abortion rights in the United States.  However, they’re now much more like the general public in this view than they used to be.  Thirty-seven percent now say it should be illegal.
  • What about economics? Hispanics, just like the U.S. public, are concerned about the economy, particularly rising prices.  And here, there’s actually no distinction.  Three quarters say they’re very concerned about rising food and consumer goods prices, and another three quarters say that they’re concerned about rising gas and energy prices.  For the U.S. public, by the way, these numbers are almost exactly the same.
  • And then there’s an emerging story about third and higher generation Mexican Americans in the Southwest who over the years have slowly identified more as Republican and slowly have identified – and voted more for Republican candidates.
  • The GOP shift even predates Trump, which is also an interesting part of the story.  But it was very, very small at the beginning, then more recently it seems like there’s a growing share of third and higher generation Mexican Americans also leaning more towards the Republican Party.
  • Latino voters have a religious component but the share who are Catholic is now in decline.  Fewer than half of all Latino adults say that they identify with or affiliate with the Catholic Church.  However, we have seen a growing share who are evangelical.
  • About Latino women – and their difference between men in elections. There has been a difference, and it’s been a growing – a growing gap.  So we see two growing gaps, actually.  First, Hispanic women are more likely to vote more than Hispanic men, so that’s a gap that’s been growing for Hispanics.  It’s also, by the way, been growing for the nation, so it’s not unique to Latinos.  It’s something happening elsewhere.  And it’s also the story that Hispanic women lean more Democratic than their Hispanic male counterparts and have tended to vote more for Democratic candidates than their Hispanic male counterparts.

 BOTTOM LINE

 Candidates and both political parties in Texas will indeed invest significant resources in sustained mobilization of eligible Latino voters…that is the biggest TASK in Texas today. And the Republicans are starting to SHIFT the NEW Texas landscape.

SOURCES:

 1) WIKIPEDIA The Free Encyclopedia, “Latino Vote”

2) Department of State
U.S. 2022 Midterm Elections: Latino Voters
FPC BRIEFING

Mark Hugo Lopez, Director of Race and Ethnicity, Pew Research Center
Monday, July 25, 2022  at 1:30 pm ET
New York City
July 15, 2022

3) PEW Research Center: October 12, 2022, “Key facts about Hispanic eligible voters in 2022”

4) The Latino Vote: NALEO Educational Fund Projections  

5) Television-Univision (The Majority MAKERS: THE HISPANIC VOTE)