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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Why Biden, Dems Must Focus on Hispanic Voters

From “Hispanic voters have soured on Biden. Now he needs to win them back” by Marissa Martinez at Politico:

The stakes for Biden are high. As he launches his reelection, there are doubts about whether he’ll be able to replicate that multiracial excitement, even if he might face off against Trump again. His favorability has dropped across the board since last year, falling nearly 30 points among Latinos in some polling.

There’s evidence that Hispanic voters helped deliver Democrats big Senate wins of 2022 in Arizona and Nevada. A coordinated effort by Democratic groups focused on turning out more voters in a non-presidential election year and ramping up spending on Spanish-language advertising. By doing so, the demographic stretched several margins during the midterms, tipping the scale for Democratic senate and gubernatorial candidates. Hispanic voters are the second-largest voting bloc in the country, which means improving margins among this group can pay dividends in key states.

So what should Democrats do to hold a stable majority of Hispanic voters? As Martinez writes,

“They need to engage these voters more deeply, earlier, and focus on strengthening their economic message,” said Janet Murguía, president of Latino advocacy organization UnidosUS. “Not all of the achievements and outcomes and impacts that have resulted from the Biden administration’s proposals and policies are clearly understood to be connected to the president.”….Murguía said the party’s strategy should focus on touting Biden’s economic policies, consistently the top issue among Latino voters. The impact of the child tax credit and pandemic-era stimulus checks were important for financially boosting Hispanic households, she added. Though those policies are all in the rearview mirror. Officials close to the campaign said lower healthcare costs, job creation and decreasing unemployment rates will also be top messaging priorities this year.

It won’t be easy, as Martinez explains:

Though the Biden administration is less than a week into the campaign, some polls show the slight majority of Hispanic registered voters have a negative impression of the president. He has an average of about 35 percent favorability across the last three relevant Quinnipiac polls with Hispanic voters. That’s even with his performance among white voters, where he had a 36 percent favorability rate within the same period.

Those numbers among Latinos are a stark drop from a sweeping poll conducted by UnidosUS following the 2022 midterms that showed Hispanic support at a 64 percent approval rate compared to 42 percent of white respondents who approved of Biden’s performance.

However, “Favorability at this point doesn’t always track with vote share,” Martinez notes. “Former President Barack Obama’s approval fell to 49 percent at the end of 2011, though he rebounded to garner 71 percent of the Hispanic vote during his 2012 reelection.

Yet, Dems should keep in mind that unforeseen factors like a spike in inflation can sour voters of any and every community. There are encouraging signs that President Biden is prioritizing Latino voters, including his designating Julie Chávez Rodríguez, granddaughter of Cesar Chavez, as his campaign manager. And by now, we can hope at least that President Biden understands that it is not enough to propose and enact popular reforms and legislation; Dems have to remind voters that they passed all of these measures and their opponents tried to kill all of the reforms — and that’s what Republicans will do if voters let them.

One comment on “Why Biden, Dems Must Focus on Hispanic Voters

  1. Victor on

    Democrats are getting beat from two sides. On the one hand a lot of Spanish speaking media is obsessively pro open borders. On the other hand many Hispanics are low information voters. Unlike Black voters there are fewer political socialization (and pressure points) to keep Hispanics in the Democratic tent. Hispanics in swing states will swing more.


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