While more Latinos say Democrats work harder to win votes than Republicans, half don’t see “much of a difference” in what the two political parties advocate, a new poll shows.
A Pew Research Center poll released Thursday examines Latinos’ political opinions and the issues that matter most in the midterm elections.
The survey was conducted in August among a randomly selected sample of 3,029 Latino adults, the center said.
Overall, 71 percent of Latino respondents said the Democratic Party is “working hard” to ensure that the Latino vote at least well describes their views, compared to 45 percent of Latinos who said the same about the GOP.
A large share of Latinos in some groups – 42% to 48% – said the statement “Democrats are working hard to win the Latino vote” described their views either very well or very well. Those groups included immigrants, predominantly Hispanic Latinos, Catholics and evangelical Protestants, as well as Latinos between the ages of 50 and 64 and those 65 and older, the survey showed.
Most Latinos, the poll shows, have a positive view of Democrats, but a third of respondents said they don’t think the Democratic Party represents their interests or that Latinos really care.
When asked how they feel about Republicans, 63 percent of respondents said they don’t think the GOP really cares about Latinos, the poll found.
The researchers also looked at respondents’ family origins, finding that those who identify as Mexican, Puerto Rican, Central American, and South American are more likely to say Democrats represent their interests well than Republicans. Meanwhile, Cubans were divided in their assessment of Democrats and Republicans.
Since the 2020 election, the idea of a growing number of Latino Republican voters has dominated the incumbent, and Republican Mayra Flores’ victory in a special election in Texas’ 34th Congressional District in June brought renewed attention to the issue.
But the survey shows that Latinos’ party affiliation has not changed significantly in recent years, said Jens Manuel Krogstad, senior writer and editor at the Pew Research Center and lead author of the report.
About 64% of registered Latino voters said they identified or reversed with the Democratic Party and 33% identified with the Republican Party. The researchers said previous Pew Research studies have shown that Latino party affiliation has remained stable since at least 2019.
Poll data shows Latinos may not be out of GOP hands. Krogstad said Latinos “fit seamlessly into the nation’s polarized two-party system” and are “in some ways charting their own path.”
Half of Latinos don’t think there is a “big difference” in what the Democratic and Republican parties stand for. Those with a high school education or less are more likely than those with at least a bachelor’s degree to say there is almost no difference between the parties, the researchers said.
Most Latinos have positive opinions about the political party they are affiliated with, but some expressed an opinion in favor of the opposite party.
A third of Latino Republicans said their beliefs described themselves “at least well enough” for Democrats to say they really care about Latinos. About 21 percent of Latino Democrats said the same about the GOP, according to the poll.
Latinos who took part in the survey discussed their opinion on the midterm elections. Among those who said they were registered voters, only 30% said they had given the election “a lot of thought”.
About half of registered Latino voters said they would vote for the Democratic candidate or were leaning the other way, and 28% said they would vote for a Republican candidate. But about 18% said they would vote for another candidate or were not sure who they would vote for, the poll shows.
Latino registered voters identified a number of issues they consider important when making a voting decision, but the economy is a top issue. According to the survey, 80% of respondents in this group said it was “very important”. It includes 90% of Latino Republicans and 75% of Latino Democrats.
Most Latinos identified health care, education and violent crime as other important issues to them, but abortion and gun policy would play an important role in Latinos’ voting decisions, the survey found.
The authors of the report said that abortion has increased in importance – from 42% to 57% – among Latinos who are registered to vote. The shift has largely been driven by Latino Democrats, the poll shows.
When asked about their voting decisions, most registered Latino voters said they would probably or definitely not vote for a candidate who disagreed with them on abortion and gun policy, even if the candidate agreed on most other issues. Sixty-one percent of Latinos who registered to vote said the same about immigration and the economy, the poll found.
57% of Latinos said abortion should be legal in some cases and 73% of Latinos said controlling gun ownership is more important than protecting Americans’ right to bear arms, according to the poll.
Pew Research surveyed 3,029 US Latino adults between August 1 and 14 using a nationally representative online panel. Results for the full sample of Latino respondents have a margin of sampling error of +/- 2.7 percentage points.