The Republican Party has, for years, tried to make inroads with the country’s growing Hispanic community, and if a new Wall Street Journal poll is any indication, the GOP has been successful.
And it spells more political hardship ahead for Democrats who have long enjoyed wide support among the Latino communities.
The WSJ noted last week:
The nation’s large and diverse group of Hispanic voters is showing signs of dividing its support between Democrats and Republicans more evenly than in recent elections, a new Wall Street Journal poll finds, a troubling development for the Democratic Party, which has long counted on outsize Hispanic support.
One year after giving Democratic House candidates more than 60% of their vote, according to polls at the time, the Journal survey found that Hispanic voters are evenly split in their choice for Congress. Asked which party they would back if the election were today, 37% of Hispanic voters said they would support the Republican congressional candidate and 37% said they would favor the Democrat, with 22% undecided.
Hispanic voters were also evenly divided when asked about a hypothetical rematch in 2024 of the last presidential contenders, with 44% saying they would back President Biden and 43% supporting former President Donald Trump. In 2020, Mr. Biden won 63% support among Hispanic voters, nearly 30 points more than Mr. Trump, according to AP VoteCast, a large survey of the presidential electorate.
Political scientists and other experienced observers believe that the Democratic Party’s increasing reliance on left-wing social issues including an emphasis on LGBTQ and transgender policies is alienating a growing number of Hispanics who tend to trend conservative, culturally.
“Latinos are more and more becoming swing voters.…They’re a swing vote that we’re going to have to fight for,” Democratic pollster John Anzalone, whose company conducted The Wall Street Journal Poll along with the firm of Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio, told the paper.
The pollster noted that Hispanics now account for about 1-in-8 votes, and they are the fastest-growing demographic in the country.
But in addition to cultural issues, the GOP wins on economic ones as well.
“Messrs. Anzalone and Fabrizio said the poll showed that economic issues were the main concern among Hispanic voters, drawing Hispanic men, in particular, toward the GOP,” the WSJ reported.
Even so, there is a gender divide: “Hispanic men said Republicans had the better economic policy, by a margin of 17 points. Hispanic women, by contrast, said Democrats had better economic plans, by a 10-point margin.”
But what about policy overall? This, too, is gendered, with most Hispanic men preferring a return to Trump’s policies (which, by the way, included tough enforcement of border and immigration statutes), while most Hispanic women would rather stick with Biden’s approach.
“You see in this poll that there’s a group of Hispanic men who were without a doubt enticed by Trump and have become more Republican. We have more work to do on that,” Anzalone said of Democratic candidates.
But Fabrizio added, “This says to me that the economy matters, particularly to Hispanic men. The economy and economic factors are driving them.”
The impact of this shift cannot be overstated, as the WSJ notes further:
Strategists in both parties have been working since the 2020 election to calculate the size of the shift among Hispanic voters to the GOP and to understand its causes. One in-depth study, by Catalist, which compiles and analyzes voter data for Democratic candidates and progressive causes, found that Hispanic voters swung toward Mr. Trump by 8 points compared with 2016 in the two-party vote.
Shifts in some parts of the country were larger. In its analysis of the 2020 electorate, Equis Labs, which studies the Latino electorate, found swings toward the GOP of 20 points in parts of Florida’s Miami-Dade County; of 12 points in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas; and double-digit swings in parts of the Northeast. In South Florida, the shift was big enough to flip two congressional seats to the GOP, the firm concluded.