Mar 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Exclusive poll: Inflation hits Latino support for Democrats

Top concerns of Latino Americans
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Respondents could select up to three choices; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Latino support for Democrats is softening as inflation replaces COVID-19 as the top worry, according to the latest Axios-Ipsos Latino Poll in partnership with Noticias Telemundo.

Why it matters: The survey does not show a mass defection to the Republican Party. But two trends since our last survey in December are hurting President Biden and his party: a waning intention to vote in the midterms, and a new GOP advantage on which party is better for the economy.

  • About half of the 1,005 U.S. Latino adults surveyed said they voted in the 2020 election.

What they're saying: "Getting prices under control is very clearly the number one priority for the majority of Hispanics and Latinos, and it underscores the challenges Biden is facing now," said Ipsos pollster and senior vice president Chris Jackson.

  • "There's not really a single issue that's super-dominant, but we're seeing a shift from a focus on COVID and COVID-related issues much more to inflation, cost pressures, supply chain breakdowns."
  • Worry about foreign conflicts sprang from obscurity into the top five list of respondents' worries, just behind crime and climate change, with Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Between the lines: Partisanship plays a strong role on some issues. Inflation was a top worry for 52% of Republicans, 32% of independents and 28% of Democrats. COVID was a top worry for one in four Democrats but just 7% of Republicans.

  • Notably, there was no statistically significant partisan difference on foreign conflicts. Between one in four and one in five said it's a top concern.

Just 40% of respondents said they are certain or very likely to vote in the midterm elections, down from 45% in December.

  • On a generic congressional ballot question, Latinos still were nearly twice as inclined to say they'd vote for a Democrat (30%) over a Republican (17%).
  • But that gap has narrowed three percentage points since our last survey.
  • Biden's favorable rating among Latinos slid from 53% to 49% during that time.

The intrigue: Asked which party better represents "people like you," 32% said the Democratic Party compared with 17% for the Republican Party. But those numbers represent a six-point slide for Democrats and a three-point gain for Republicans.

  • Respondents were four times as likely to say Democrats care about Hispanics and Latino Americans compared to Republicans, and twice as likely to say Republicans take Hispanic and Latino Americans for granted.
  • These findings underscore how the softening in support for Democrats is driven more by economic than social concerns.

Be smart: Latino Democratic and GOP consultants have been saying both parties have been ignoring Hispanic voters and tend to engage them only in the final days of political campaigns.

  • Democratic strategist Chuck Rocha, based in D.C., told Axios that Democrats in recent House races have run weak campaigns that are aimed at Latinos but don't target them well, and tried ineffective strategies like buying Spanish-language ads late in the game.

Yes, but: Republicans have done little until recently to reach out to Latinos, Republican consultant Mike Madrid, based in Sacramento, told Axios.

  • Some working-class Latino voters feel alienated by progressive social issues that appeal to college-educated voters and want to hear more about how candidates will help the economy, Madrid said.

What we're watching: The findings also provided new insights into targeted messaging in the culture wars.

  • There was a deep split over whether parents should be able to block what schools teach. And nearly one in four respondents likened parental support of their children transitioning genders to child abuse, while another third said they were unsure.
  • The survey also reveals strong optimism among Latinos about their ability to succeed in the U.S. despite the pandemic and inflation, and a belief in the power of hard work and family above education or inherited wealth.
  • Read more about these findings in today's edition of Axios Latino.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Latino Poll, in partnership with Noticias Telemundo, was conducted March 7-18 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,005 Hispanic/Latino adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.7 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample.
Go deeper