AP NEWS

Poll: Majority of Latino electorate ignored by both political parties

September 7, 2018

As the Nov. 8 midterm elections approach and with local early voting just weeks away, a majority of the Latino electorate has been untapped by both major political parties, a new poll has found.

Nearly 60 percent of registered Latino voters report that they have not been contacted by any campaign, political party or organization asking them to register or vote, according to a poll commissioned by the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, known as NALEO. The survey was conducted Aug. 28 through Sept. 3 by Latino Decisions, a national research firm.

The findings are not surprising, said Arturo Vargas, chief executive of the nonpartisan Hispanic civic organization.

“This poll confirms what we have known for some time, that Latino voters are still being ignored by the nation’s major campaigns, political parties and funders,” Vargas said in a statement. “We are once again witnessing an overall lack of investment in Latino outreach efforts across the country in Election 2018, with the little funding that is available being diverted towards partisan outcomes.”

The current lack of campaign engagement with Latinos indicated by the poll comes at a time when they are proving to be more motivated to take part, compared to other midterm elections.

In Harris County the number of people with Hispanic surnames who voted in the May primary elections more than doubled compared to the same elections in 2014, according to the county clerk’s office.

Among those surveyed, 67 percent said they “almost certainly” will vote in November, and 18 percent “will probably” cast their vote. However, 61 percent said that Republicans have not done a good job explaining what they stand for to them, while 42 percent feel the same about Democrats, suggesting that both parties have a way go to enlist Latino voters.

Asked about the most critical issues facing their communities that should be addressed by Congress and the President, the top three concerns of the new survey’s participants were “Stopping Trump and the Republican agenda,” “Lowering the costs of health care” and “Protecting immigrant rights.”

“Like most Americans, Latinos are fired up in 2018,” said UCLA professor Matt Barreto, co-founder of the Latino Decisions polling firm. He points out that “no voters automatically rush to the ballot box, they have to really believe that their vote will make a difference and that a specific candidate is going to fight for them.”

Vargas, the NALEO executive, said that the organization wants to increase the number of eligible Americans who are exercising their right to vote.

“We cannot afford to … continuously ignore the nation’s second-largest population group, election cycle after election cycle,” Vargas said.

olivia.tallet@chron.com

Twitter.com/oliviaptallet

AP RADIO
Update hourly