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UnidosUS Survey: Latinos most concerned about inflation, jobs and health care costs

Hispanics ranked social issues such as abortion, climate change and “racial justice” lower on their list of concerns

Stock photo of Hispanic family
Stock photo of Hispanic family | Shutterstock

December 14, 2023 8:56am

Updated: December 14, 2023 8:56am

A recent voter survey conducted by the largest Latino nonprofit advocacy organization found that Hispanic Americans are most concerned about “inflation/rising cost of living,” “jobs and the economy,” health care costs.

The findings were from a November poll conducted by Democratic polling firm BSP Research, for UnidosUS and Mi Familia Vota, organizations which have spent years mobilizing Latinos to vote.

The poll, titled the National Survey of Latino Voters asked 3,037 Latinos—2,707 registered voters and 330 eligible voters—which top three issues elected officials should be most concerned with.

Latinos prioritize the economy over social issues

It revealed that while Latinos also have concerns about several issues such as health care, crime, guns and immigration, those issues ranked lower as a priority than financial matters. The survey also found that housing affordability “have emerged as a new issue” with Arizona, California and Nevada “leading the way.”

Border security ranked relatively high as the sixth highest priority and education and public-school quality as seventh.

Hispanics ranked social issues as a lower priority. Abortion ranked only ninth, climate change ranked 12th, and “racial justice” ranked 13th.

When asked to name the top three issues of concern, 54% of Latinos named inflation and the increase in cost of living as their top priorities while 44% named jobs and the economy and 33% named health care.

Biden v. Trump: The 2024 presidential rematch

When asked which political party and candidate would handle these issues, the answers leaned Democratic and toward Biden, but this result contradicts a recent October New York Times poll.

When asked which party would be more effective at curbing inflation and lower the cost of living, 39% of Latinos surveyed said Democrats, and 21% said Republicans. 

Still, while 47% said they approved of how President Biden was performing in the White House, almost the same number, 44% said they disapproved. The survey said Biden’s approval was “lower than expected.”

An October New York Times/Siena College poll of 235 registered Hispanic voters found otherwise. In that poll, the majority of Latinos said that President Donald Trump would handle the economy better.

A September Univision poll of 1,400 Hispanic registered voters, also conducted by BSP Research, found that just 27% of the Latino registered voters polled believed Biden, a Democrat, had a plan to reduce the cost of living and inflation, and only 30% who were familiar with the president’s plan believed it would address America’s current problems.

According to the recent November UnidosUS/Mi Familia Vota poll, 51% said they would vote or lean toward voting for Biden in a 2024 presidential election against Trump while 33% said they vote for the former Republican president.

In Florida, where Trump enjoys a strong showing of support from the Cuban American community, the former president ranked higher with Hispanic voters, outranking Biden 45% to Biden’s 39%.

Contrarily, Biden did better in Pennsylvania, outranking Trump 58% to 26%, the poll found. 

Do Hispanic Americans believe the two major political parties care about them?

Perhaps the most surprising statistic was when the survey asked whether those polled believed the Democratic Party cared about the Latino community, a total of 48% said they believe the party “cares a great deal” while 41% said they “don’t care too much” and 11% saying Democrats were “hostile” toward the group with some variance between Democratic and Republican led states.

When asked if the Republican Party cared about the Latino community, only about 22-28% said they “care a great deal” with about 40-50% saying they “don’t care too much” and about a third saying they are “hostile.”

That balance was relatively consistent for the states that were polled as well, including Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas,

For the past several years, there has been a continuing narrative projecting there could be a shift of Hispanic American voters from the left to the right.

While 23% of Democrats said they were more open to voting for Republicans and 32% said they were more open to vote for Democrats in 2020, 44%, said their views remained the same. 

NBC News exit polling found in that election that Trump won 32 of the overall Hispanic vote and Biden won more than twice that at 65%.

In places with a strong Cuban population such as Miami-Dade County however, Biden performed 20 points worse than Hillary Clinton did in 2016. Clinton outperformed Trump by 27 points in 2016 whereas Biden skated by with a mere 7-point lead in a county that is usually Democratic.

A Nov. 4, 2020 Washington Post headline summarized the shift with a headline, “Miami-Dade Hispanics helped sink Biden in Florida.”

Some have attributed the shift to a strong effort on behalf of the Cuban American community engaging in voter registration and outreach drives.

According to UnidosUS, the 2024 presidential election 22% more Hispanics will be eligible to vote than in 2020, and about a third more since the 2016 presidential election, when Trump defeated Clinton.

Immigration and foreign policy

Republicans have currently made both the economy and immigration key issues. Congressional Republicans are currently pushing to tie Ukraine aid to border security funding and have asked for cuts to the IRS funding bill to get a $14 billion aid package to Israel.

While Hispanic Americans may respond to legislation that aims to reduce spending, lower taxes or boost the economy, the UnidosUS/Mi Familia Vota poll found that immigration was not as strong of a concern, but still ranked sixth out of 18 categories.  

According to the survey, about half supported a legal path to citizenship for immigrants who came to the United States as children as well as undocumented migrants who have remained in the country for an extended period of time, and a third support increasing support for asylum seekers, employment and family visas.

About 30% support stepping up border security, according to the poll. 

The poll was conducted from Nov. 2 until Nov. 13 in both English and in Spanish and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 1.8 percentage points.

UnidosUS was founded in 1968 to promote progressive policies and immigration reform, focusing on issues it believes are of interest to Hispanic Americans. It had a near $60 million budget in 2018 and currently has offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix, San Antonio and Washington, D.C.

It has hosted speakers such as Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, researcher Steve St. Angelo and Janet Murguia, President of the Council of La Raza.

Executive Editor

Gelet Martínez Fragela

Gelet Martínez Fragela is the founder and editor-in-chief of ADN America. She is a Cuban journalist, television producer, and political refugee who also founded ADN Cuba.