2020 Could Prove Latino Voters Have Next
At Bloomberg, there’s a deep dive into the major impact Latino voters could have on the 2020 election. Trump and Biden are spending more time and attention on Latino voters in the 2020 campaign as, for the first time, Latinos outnumber African Americans among eligible voters. A large turnout could make them the most influential voting bloc in the country.
In fact, Latinos are participating in early and absentee voting at rates 2.5 times their participation in 2016, and states with heavy Hispanic populations — Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Florida — are all key battlegrounds. It’s why Trump and Biden have spent more time in those states than they might have in another campaign year,
Latino Voters By The Numbers
Latinos now comprise about 13.5% of the national electorate, while African Americans account for about 12.5%, according to the Pew Research Center. Nationally, about two-thirds of Latino voters have broken for Democrats in recent presidential elections, and it doesn’t look much better for Trump in 2020 among Latino voters outside of Florida. The gender gap is higher among Hispanic men and women than among White and Black voters.
The Latino Decisions poll, which specializes in polling Hispanic voters and conducts its interviews in English and Spanish, shows Biden leading 68% to 25% among Hispanic likely voters nationally. The poll has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.
Latino voter participation has trailed those of other ethnic groups for decades — it’s one reason Texas has remained so reliably Republican despite 28% of its voters being Latino — but there are some encouraging signs in 2020. Latino voters this year have more than quadrupled their participation in early and absentee balloting this year compared to 2016, a 224% increase. That compares to to a 165% increase in early and absentee ballots for voters overall, according to the political data firm TargetSmart.
Exit polls in 2016 showed Hillary Clinton with about 66% support among Hispanic voters. State polls show that among all voters, Biden leads Trump by 2.4 points in Arizona, which ranks fourth in number of Hispanic registered voters, and 5.2 points in Nevada, which ranks sixth.
Trump’s 25% support among Latinos is an improvement from 2016, when pre-election polls put his Latino support below 20%. Trump’s greater support among Latinos now from 2016 is still less than winning Republican presidents like Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, who each got more than 30% Hispanic support.
Trump leads in Texas, which ranks third in the number of registered Hispanic voters, most of whom are Mexican-American. In Florida, the two candidates are essentially tied and I’ve talked about the support Trump has amongst Cuban, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan Americans.
Florida has seen 475,000 new Hispanic voter registrations since 2016, according to the Pew Research Center, and Democratic registrations now outnumber Republicans in the state by 308,000.
Traditional pollsters often miss these voters because most surveys are conducted only in English. And about one quarter of the Latino electorate is first-time voters, meaning it’s difficult to predict whether they’ll show up.
Ad Spending on Latino Voters
Both sides are courting Latino voters more than four years ago, according to the Latino Decisions poll. By this time in 2016, 44% of Latino voters had been contacted by a political party or campaign asking them to register or vote. This year, it’s 56%.
Both campaigns have spent $16 million on Spanish-language television ads. The Biden campaign has outspent Trump two-to-one on Spanish-language ads, and has targeted smaller Hispanic communities in places like Charlotte, North Carolina and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has three Spanish-language ads in circulation. Different ads are targeted to Cuban Americans in South Florida, Puerto Ricans in central Florida, and Mexican Americans in Nevada and Arizona. Miami has seen twice as many Trump ads as any other market.