In Defying the Odds, we discuss demographic gaps in the 2016 election. The forthcoming update will include a chapter on the 2018 midterms.
“There is a growing evangelical share among Hispanics, and that may be an important part of the story for Republican Latinos,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, Pew’s director of Hispanic research.
Trump’s approval rating among Latinos also hovers between 20 and 30 percent in national polls (compared to 60 and 70 percent disapproval). That number is more evidence that a solid minority of Latinos is likely to remain aligned with Trump and the Republican Party.
To conclude, let me again emphasize that Latino voters overall are heavily Democratic and don’t like Trump. News articles that portray Democrats as having a “Latino problem” are, in my opinion, a bit off. It’s hard to say a party has a problem with a voting bloc that it wins by more than 35 percentage points nationally. The Democrats’ strength with Latino voters was a major factor in the party’s ability to flip GOP-controlled Senate seats in both Arizona and Nevada, two states with large blocs of Latino voters.
But it’s also true that Republicans continue to win a meaningful share of the Latino vote. And that has major implications. Florida remains a hugely important swing state in presidential elections, and now Democrats are talking about trying to win Arizona and maybe even Texas next year. Democrats could carry those states by winning more white voters, particularly those in the suburbs, but Democrats could also motivate Latinos who have not previously voted to cast ballots in those states. Or they could try to win over Latinos who have traditionally voted for Republicans.
For Republicans, this bloc of the electorate is just as critical. The path for Trump to win re-election probably includes him winning Arizona, Florida and Texas — and that would be easier if his Latino support doesn’t, say, bottom out to single digits in those states. But I don’t expect Trump to do much in the next two years to woo Latino voters. So the big question is whether Trump will have alienated Latino voters so much by 2020 that even those who have long backed GOP candidates decide that they can’t keep voting Republican.