less predictable in the elections, more focused on the wallet

less predictable in the elections, more focused on the wallet


While Latino voters are leaning towards Democrats ahead of the US midterm elections, rising inflation is making their support less predictable and could force a switch to Republican candidates, analysts say.

Inflation, now at eight percent, worries Latinos like all Americans, according to polls released ahead of the Nov. 8 vote that will see President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party face serious potential losses.

Other issues — abortion rights, gun control and an undocumented migrant crisis — are secondary, polls show.

More than half of Latinos intend to vote Democrat in the ballot for seats in Parliament, while 30 percent support Republicans, up from four years ago, the polls show.

“What matters most to Latino voters is inflation, and many … are willing to give Republicans a chance,” said Rodrigo Dominguez-Villegas, research director at the Latino Policy & Politics Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. to AFP.

– Hit the alarm –

However, in the election, which will see wins in the 435-seat House of Representatives, a third of the 100-seat Senate and about 30 governorships up for grabs, “there is no rush to the Republicans by Latino voters,” he said.

“The Democratic Party is alarmed that unless it maintains its margin of support among Latino voters, it risks losing an important, hard-fought election,” Dominguez-Villegas added.

While Latinos have historically supported the Democrats, “there is a large group of swing voters” who change their preferences every election, and the Republican Party is targeting them, he said.

“Latinos are not a monolithic group. We have different origins, with different aspirations and different problems,” said Jaime Florez, Hispanic communications director for the Republican National Committee.

Florez named three key areas: economy, education and public safety, but the most important thing at the moment is inflation.

“Economic problems affect us all, regardless of our country of origin, the language we speak, often even our economic situation, because even rich people have lost enormous sums of money in the stock market collapse,” he said.

– “A wrong assumption” –

The Republican Party is perceived as handling economic issues better – while some Democratic leaders have been accused of believing that Latinos will simply join them.

“They’re just running these voting operations in the weeks leading up to the election and expecting that Latinos are going to show up and support them, and I think that’s a wrong assumption,” Geraldo Cadava, a history professor at Northwestern University, told AFP.

While republics still lag behind Democrats among Latinos, “Both Latinos have voted Republican in increasing numbers in recent years and they have left the Democratic Party in recent years,” Cadava said.

The dynamics are complex, he said, but in part “Latinos are attracted to certain Republican policies while at the same time abandoning Democratic policies.”

Latinos agree with the Democratic Party on a number of issues, said Stephen Nuno-Perez, analyst and pollster at BSP Research.

“In terms of data points, we continue to see strong support for the policies Democrats are pushing, be it immigration reform, abortion rights — over 70 percent — climate change action, student debt relief, gun safety, all of it,” he said .

“None of these are issues that we would call Republican issues.”

Latinos are increasingly advocating restrictive immigration reforms, including building border walls, Cadava added.

“In the past, say in the last 20 or 25 years, about 15 percent of Latinos would say they support restrictive immigration reform,” Cadava said, but now support has risen to 36 percent.

“That’s a pretty big jump.”

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