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Survey finds strong support for Democratic Party among Latinos

According to a survey conducted last month, abortion has risen as a key issue for Latino voters heading into November’s midterm election. Latinos are also more likely to support gun control and less likely to emphasize border security.

(CN) — The economy remains the top issue for Hispanic voters in the United States, but since the spring abortion has surged from more of an afterthought to a key concern heading into the Nov. 8 general election. 

According to a survey released Thursday by Pew Research Center, "abortion has risen the most in importance as a voting issue among Hispanics” in recent months, more than health care, crime, education and even immigration policy.

While 42% of Hispanic voters felt abortion was a “very important” issue in March, that number has since climbed to 57% following the U.S. Supreme Court's June decision to overturn the federal right to abortion. Similarly, 57% of Hispanic respondents indicated abortion should be legal in at least some cases. One in four believe abortion should be legal in all cases. Still, the survey found Hispanic voters are divided along party lines much the same as the rest of the public, although they are less polarized on some key issues. 

There are roughly 35 million Latinos eligible to vote in the midterm election in November, Pew notes, making it the country’s second-largest group of eligible voters. Notably, Donald Trump won more Latino votes in 2020 than in 2016, but 64% of Hispanic voters still identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party. 

President Joe Biden received roughly 66% of the Hispanic vote two years ago, but Thursday’s report suggests 77% of Hispanic registered voters are dissatisfied with progress in America, while 54% disapprove of Biden’s job as president. 

Yet about 53% of registered Hispanic voters indicated they would likely vote for the Democratic candidate for U.S House of Representatives in their congressional district in November, compared to about 28% who indicated they would vote for the Republican candidate. 

The terms Hispanic and Latino are used interchangeably for the purposes of the survey.

“The idea of a rising Latino Republican electorate has received renewed attention ever since millions of Latinos voted for Trump in 2020,” said Jens Manuel Krogstad, senior writer and editor for race and ethnicity research at Pew. “Our survey finds Latinos view the Democratic Party more positively than the GOP and that Latinos party affiliation has not changed in recent years. Most Latinos say Democrats worked hard to earn their votes and genuinely care about Latinos and represent their interests.”

Indeed, Pew found some 71% of Latino voters believe the Democratic Party “works hard for Latinos’ votes,” compared to 45% who say the same thing of the Republican Party. But equal shares of Republican and Democrat Latinos, 60%, recognize the importance of their party controlling Congress.

“The findings of the survey reinforce a long running big picture trend,” Krogstad said. “About two-thirds of Latino registered voters say they are Democrats. Yet at the same time, there's long been a substantial minority of Latino voters who are Republican and vote Republican. These shares haven’t changed much since 2019 and this is a time that covers both the Trump and Biden presidencies. That’s worth highlighting because there has been a lot of talk about the fact that Trump gained Hispanic voters two years ago.”

But Trump’s share of the Hispanic vote in 2020 still did not approach that of George W. Bush in 2004, underscoring the fact that political allegiances tend to change over time. Interestingly, the new survey found 73% of all Hispanic registered voters would not like to see Trump return to the White House. Trump still has support among at least 63% of Republican Hispanics, who would like to support him for a second term. 

On other social issues, Hispanics are far more likely (73%) than the rest of the U.S. population (52%) to say gun control is more important than the right to own guns. Similarly, nearly three-fourths of Hispanic voters have positive or neutral views of same-sex marriage and transgender rights. 

But only about half of Hispanics have a negative impression of socialism, or on the flip side, a positive impression of capitalism. Much of the Latino population has recent immigration connections to socialist or communist countries or former socialist governments, but the report noted for Hispanics “socialism can take on a broader meaning and include U.S. government programs or democratic socialist governments such Denmark or Finland.”

“The views of Latinos on social issues are nuanced and can depend on the issue we asked about,” Krogstad explained. “Latinos can look a lot like other Americans on some issues, but on others they go their own way. A majority of Hispanics say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and their views are similar to that of all Americans. But on guns, Hispanics are more likely than U.S. adults overall to favor controlling gun ownership over protecting gun ownership rights. And here, Hispanic Republicans hold starkly different views from Republicans overall.”

Likewise, Republican Latinos place less of an emphasis on border security than the Republican Party at large, Krogstad said. 

“This survey shows that when it comes to Latino politics, things are not always black and white,” he said. “Latinos don't always neatly fit into the nation's two party system and the surveys show Latinos are charting their own course in certain ways.” 

The survey was conducted over two weeks in August, incorporating answers from 7,647 U.S. adults, including 3,029 Hispanics.

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