In Florida, Trump won 46% of the Latino vote, a performance that allowed him to win the state more easily than expected. In Texas, Trump took 41% of the Latino vote, again helping him to a win in the state.
Nationally, he won 32% of the Hispanic vote, an improvement from the 28% he had taken in 2016.
New polling from The Wall Street Journal suggests those 2020 numbers weren’t an anomaly.
Asked whether they would vote for a Democratic or Republican candidate for Congress in 2022, Latinos were split right down the middle, with 37% choosing each side.
Asked who they would vote for if the 2024 race was held today, 44% opted for President Joe Biden while 43% went with Trump.
And, Biden’s approval ratings among Hispanics in the poll were problematic as well. Just 42% approved of the job he is doing as President while 54% disapproved. Among Hispanic men, that number was even worse — with 61% disapproving of how Biden is doing.
“Latinos are more and more becoming swing voters,” said Democratic pollster John Anzalone, who helped conduct the WSJ poll. “They’re a swing vote that we’re going to have to fight for.”
That marks a seismic shift from thinking around the Hispanic vote over the last decade when the growth of the population coupled with its clear Democratic tilt suggested that Republicans were facing a demographic disaster in coming years.
Now, this is just one poll and other recent polling has shown Democrats holding an edge among Latinos, but nothing remotely close to the 40-point advantage they held nationwide in the 2018 midterms.
So, what changed? Democratic strategist Ruy Teixeira, in an essay titled “The Democrats’ Hispanic Voter Problem,” suggests the leftward movement of the party nationally has made it less appealing for Latinos.
“This constituency does not harbor particularly radical views on the nature of American society and its supposed intrinsic racism and White supremacy,” Teixeira writes. “They are instead a patriotic, upwardly mobile, working class group with quite practical and down to earth concerns. Democrats will either learn to focus on that or they will continue to lose ground among this vital group of voters.”
The Point: The numbers cited above make it clear: Democrats need to start paying attention to voices like Teixeira’s — or run the risk of watching what was once considered a dominant demographic advantage slip away.