Why do most Latinos disapprove of Joe Biden?

José López Zamorano | La Red Hispana 
Photo Credit: The White House

Nearly a year ago, during the annual meeting of UnidosUS – the largest Latino advocacy group – First Lady Jill Biden sparked controversy when she compared the uniqueness of Latinos to tacos.

Although a timely apology from the White House dispelled the controversy, Biden’s disconnect with the Latino electorate not only persists, but there is fresh evidence that it may be deteriorating, as the president seeks a second term in the White House.

After last year’s midterm elections, Biden enjoyed the approval of 64% of Latino adults in the United States, according to a poll by UnidosUS, which next month holds their annual assembly in Chicago.

However, a new poll released a few days ago by CBS/YouGov shows a plummet in Biden’s approval rating. Only 41% approve of his management, which represents a drop of 23 percentage points in just a few months.

Similarly, disapproval of Biden among Latinos is 59%, that is, 26 percentage points higher than among African-Americans and only 5 percentage points below non-Hispanic whites.

Six out of 10 Latinos actually believe that Biden should not be re-elected. The main reason: They are not satisfied with his performance in his first term.

As expected, managing the economy is one of the main ballasts that Biden drags when he seeks to connect with the majority of the population, but especially with Latinos. 68% of Latinos gave the president failing grades on the economic issue, followed by 67% for non-Hispanic whites. 42% of African Americans disapprove of the president’s economic management.

But in the case of the Latino community, the electoral translation for Biden is very clear: at this moment only four out of 10 Latinos are convinced that they would supported a Democratic presidential candidate; 32% would vote for a Republican and 15% are undecided.

Such figures should set off more than one red flag in the president’s campaign team, headed by Julie Chávez-Rodríguez.

Perhaps for that reason, President Biden launched his re-election campaign this month in a handful of states with strong Latino populations: California, Illinois and New York, as well as stops in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

But with the possible exception of Pennsylvania, none of those states will define the outcome of the 2024 elections and the message of economic and legislative achievements and reduction of inflation are often forgotten when it comes to filling the gas tank of the car.

The president and the Democrats have the challenge of achieving concrete economic advances that are reflected in the pockets of the voters and the well-being of their families, or else those voters will not have enough reasons to give them a second chance. That happened to George Bush Sr. and in politics, history often repeats itself.