The Wall Street Journal released a surprising poll on party preferences among Hispanic voters. It finds that support is split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, with 37% supporting each party and 22% undecided.
Democratic pollster John Anzalone says that “Latinos are more and more becoming swing voters. … They’re a swing vote that we’re going to have to fight for.” Anzalone conducted the WSJ poll along with Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio.
Latinos have always been fertile ground for Republicans, given their largely conservative position on social issues and the family. For one reason or another, however, the GOP failed to attract a significant number of Hispanics until 2020, when Donald Trump’s “Opportunity Agenda” and Democrats fumbling their advantages led to a decent share of Hispanics voting for Republicans.
For our VIPs: What’s Driving Latinos to the GOP?
But now, it appears that Hispanic men, especially, are attracted to the GOP because of economic issues. Hispanic men said Republicans had the better economic policy, by a margin of 17 points. Hispanic women gave the nod to Democrats on economic issues by 10 points.
If these changes are reflected in the national vote in 2022 and 2024, it will represent a sea change in American elections and could tilt the electoral map in Republicans’ favor for the first time since the early 2000s.
Hispanic voters in the survey ranked economic issues as the priority for Mr. Biden and Congress to address. 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.
A majority of Hispanic men said they would like to return to the policies that Mr. Trump pursued as president, while a majority of Hispanic women said they would rather stick with Mr. Biden’s policies.
Democrats continue to play the immigration card, believing that Hispanic voters want more illegal immigration and a path to legality for illegals already here. But the polls clearly show Hispanics are more engaged when it comes to economic issues than anything else.
Relevant to the 2024 election, 56% of Hispanic men support Trump over Biden while 61% of Hispanic men disapprove of the job Biden is doing as president.
“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,’’ said Mr. Anzalone, referring to Democratic candidates and their allies.
Mr. Fabrizio said: “This says to me that the economy matters, particularly to Hispanic men. The economy and economic factors are driving them.”
While Latino men strongly support Trump, it’s not just a Trump phenomenon. In the Virginia governor’s race, Glenn Youngkin defeated Terry McAuliffe among Hispanics.
The Hispanic vote in Texas, Florida, and other sections of the country has also flipped significantly, now favoring the GOP.
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.
Democrats know the shift is occurring. The question is, can they do anything about it? It doesn’t appear that Joe Biden and the Democrats are going to change their approach significantly, which could mean they will double down on policies that cost them dearly in 2020.