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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Latino Politics > Latest poll shows Latino voters still sleeping when it comes to midterm elections

Latest poll shows Latino voters still sleeping when it comes to midterm elections

Marisa Treviño
LatinaLista

The upcoming midterm elections are viewed as a ‘pivotal’ election for the nation. For one side, it’s about protecting the GOP majority and the Trump administration. For the other side, it’s all about displacing the majority and making good on impeachment threats.

However, a new poll offers a mixed snapshot of the Latino voter who appears neither outraged or even yet fully awake.

With only a couple of months until the midterm elections, political campaigns are in full swing, attack ads already set loose and pollsters busily calling and tabulating respondents’ answers in the on-going effort to either help predict the outcome of the midterm elections or gauge voter enthusiasm or expectations.

In past election seasons, it’s always been important for pollsters of color to measure how both parties performed in reaching out to minority voters. For Latinos, a certain level of importance (read acceptance) was attached to party Latino outreach efforts. The greater the outreach effort implied Latinos were finally being recognized for the voting potential we brought to the table, a.k.a. our political social capital. Yet, there’s only so long any group can be described or counted on to be a “sleeping giant” — without delivering.

Unfortunately, Latinos still have a dismal voter turnout record. Maybe that’s why a new poll by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund and Latino Decisions found “nearly 60 percent of Latino registered voters reported that they have not been contacted by a campaign, political party or organization asking them to register or vote.”

Who can really blame the GOP or Democrats?

Though the poll shows that Dems have done a better job of reaching out to Latinos and too many Latinos perceive the GOP as being hostile towards us, the bottom line is that while the majority of Latinos surveyed know this election is an important one (67 percent say they will most certainly vote), the poll’s findings don’t show the kind of urgency that would predict a massive Latino voter turnout.

For example, on this question:
On the whole, what are the most important issues facing your community that you think Congress and the President should address? [RANDOMIZE, CAN SELECT TWO]
Stopping Trump and the Republican agenda………………………22
Lowering the costs of health care ………………………….. 20
Protecting immigrant rights …………………………………17
Creating more jobs ………………………………………….13
Improving wages and incomes…………………………………..12
Improving K-12 education and schools ………………………….10
Putting an end to racist comments about Latinos ……………….. 9
Combating terrorism and ISIS ………………………………….9
Creating more affordable housing ……………………………… 9
Gun rights and safety policy …………………………………. 8
Lowering the cost of college …………………………………. 8
Combating climate change and pollution ………………………… 8
Stopping Pelosi and the Democratic agenda ……………………… 7
Criminal justice and police reform…………………………….. 6
Border security to control immigration ………………………… 5
Lowering taxes………………………………………………. 5
Protecting women’s reproductive health ………………………… 5

There’s hardly a big enough point spread (surprisingly) to pinpoint any one issue that would/should energize Latino voters.

What does that mean?

It means that
1. Latino voters have abandoned any hope that things will change.
2. Latino voters feel their voices still don’t count.
or
3. The Latino voters surveyed were anxious to get away from the pollster and just gave any answer to speed things up so they could get back to what they were doing.

This is the first of a ten-week weekly poll that Latino Decisions and NALEO plan to release in a countdown to the midterm elections. Hopefully by November, Latino voters will ‘get woke’ that voters can get heard.

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