Both Political Parties Missed Opportunity to Drive Latino Turnout

Suzanne Potter | California News Service
According to the Pew Research Center, the number of eligible Hispanic voters in the United States has increased by 4.7 million since 2018. Photo Credit: Pressmaster / Adobe Stock

Conventional wisdom said in a close election like this week’s midterms, turnout is key, and a new poll from a Latino rights group found both parties might have blown it, in terms of outreach to their community.

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund polled Latinos across the U.S. weekly for the past nine weeks, and found just over half said they were not contacted by either party before the election.

Dorian Caal, director of civic engagement research for the Fund, said of those who were contacted, 63% heard from the Democratic Party, and 36% heard from Republicans.

“This was another opportunity for either party to engage the Latino community,” Caal pointed out. “And it looks like it was a missed opportunity for both parties to really engage the Latino community on the issues that really mattered.”

In the poll, 48% of Latinos rated the rising cost of living and inflation as top issues, and 26% of Latinos cited abortion rights as their most important issue.

The poll also found 76% of respondents support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but Caal warned it is a mistake to think it is the only issue Latinos care about.

“What is top of mind is really around the rising cost of living for example, reproductive rights, lowering the cost of health care,” Caal outlined. “Addressing mass shootings, climate change, and so forth. So certainly, that would be top of mind as Latinos went to the polls,” Caal said.

So, what would Latinos like the new Congress to focus on? The poll found big majorities in favor of allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices on prescription drugs, banning assault rifles nationwide, and legalizing recreational marijuana.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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