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New WSJ poll shows that Latino voters are now evenly split between parties

When asked how they would vote in a hypothetical rematch of the 2020 election, 44 percent said President Biden while 43 percent said former President Trump

December 9, 2021 4:06pm

Updated: December 9, 2021 4:06pm

Before Joe Biden’s 2020 run, previous Democratic presidential candidates were easily able to capture a Latino majority in their quests for the presidency. 

However, that landscape appears to be undergoing a tectonic shift. 

A Dec. 8 Wall Street Journal poll found that although Latino voters who account for around 1 in 8 eligible voters  gave Democrats 60 percent of their vote in the midterm elections, they now appear to be evenly split between the Democratic and Republican parties.  

According to the data, if a congressional election were held today, 37 percent of Latino voters said they would vote for a Republican and 37 percent said they would vote for a Democrat.

Similarly, when asked how they would vote in a hypothetical rematch of the 2020 election, 44 percent of those polled said they would support President Biden while 43 percent voiced their support for former President Donald Trump.

This may come as a surprise to both Democrats and Republicans as Biden won 63 percent of the Latino vote in 2020 besting Trump by close to 30 points, according to an AP VoteCast survey conducted after the election.

But as the recent elections in Virginia demonstrated, Latino votes are increasingly up for grabs for candidates from either party. Democratic pollster John Anzalone told the Wall Street Journal, “Latinos are more and more becoming swing voters.…They’re a swing vote that we’re going to have to fight for."

In Virginia, Latinos favored Republican Glenn Youngkin by more than 10 points, according to an AP VoteCast survey.

After the election, Libre Initiative Coalitions Director Michael Monrroy told ADN America that he believes if politicians focus on “kitchen-table” issues such as economic opportunity and education, the Latino community could become an important constituency.

“I think perhaps Washington has focused too heavily on left-leaning policy priorities and need to come back to the center, focusing on the kitchen-table issues that can really transform the lives of Latino families,” Monrroy told ADN America. “These families have been hurting during the pandemic and want economic relief along with a better future for their children.” 

The Wall Street Journal’s newest poll appears to mirror Monrroy’s observation as Latino voters in the survey ranked economic issues as the priority for Biden and Congress to address.

According to the survey, however, Latino voters had a negative outlook on the economy, with 25 percent saying it was headed in the right direction and 63 percent saying it's not.

A striking insight is that a majority of Latino men said they would like to return to the policies pursued by the Trump administration.

“This says to me that the economy matters, particularly to Hispanic men. The economy and economic factors are driving them,” noted Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio.

But the issue could also be cultural, and Democrats have continued to misread their Latino constituencies when supporting the same anti-market policies that caused many Latinos to leave their homes in Latin America in the first place. Similarly, lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's refusal to drop the term "Latinx" even after polls show the term offends many Latinos could be pushing Latinos into the arms of the GOP. 

As candidates head into the midterms and the 2024 presidential elections, they would be wise to remember the diversity of the Latino community and should be offering “kitchen-table” policies that can better their lives and economic outlooks.