May 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

First look: Latino non-registered voters not keen on either party

Health Coverage Guide Jesse Lopez of the Aurora Coverage Assistance Network talks about health care with Pedro and Milda Quintanar during a Latino enrollment event in Denver.
Latino health care enrollment event at Escuela Tlatelolco in Denver. Photo: Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post via Getty

Colorado Hispanics who aren't registered to vote say they may not register before November, citing discontent with both parties and the economy, according to a study from Emerson College's nationwide initiative on Latinos.

Why it matters: The new survey and focus groups show the challenges that Democrats and Republicans face long-term with one of the nation's fastest-growing voting blocs.

Details: The Emerson College project found that non-registered Latino voters in Colorado were split over whether their vote would make a difference, with 41% revealing they believe it won't change anything.

  • Young people 18-24 made up the highest share of those non-registered citizens who felt that way, indicating they could be the most challenging bloc for either party to persuade this fall.
  • Non-registered U.S. citizens were similarly split over whether they could be motivated to register and vote (40% said "if they were more informed") — but 39% said nothing could persuade them.

The big picture: These Hispanic residents in Colorado shared that while they don't have strong positive or negative feelings about either party, they feel more aligned with the Democrats on abortion, immigration, and the economy.

  • But they expressed frustration with the Democratic Party's unfulfilled promises and the high costs of some of their proposed social programs.

What they're saying: “I mean, I don't want to [register to vote],” a 22-year-old non-registered citizen said in one of Emerson College's focus groups. “It's not going to really change a whole lot, more of the change comes from the local level if you really want to change something.”

  • “For the Democrats, the first thing that came to my mind is that prices go up and the economy sinks down. A lot of promises to reform things, but nothing really happens,” a 62-year-old woman in a voter focus group said.

Don't forget: Some Latino political consultants say Democrats are losing Latino voters by primarily focusing on immigration reform instead of the economy, even though immigration consistently ranks 5th or 6th among Latino concerns.

  • They also say Republicans alienate Latino voters with offensive messages, but Democrats fail to engage with Hispanic voters and reach out to them late in election cycles.

Be smart: Hispanics are now 18.7% — 62.1 million people — of the total U.S. population.

Methodology: The survey of U.S. Hispanic citizens in Colorado was conducted April 19-25, 2022. This poll was based on a sample consisting of 310 non-registered citizens in Colorado, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error of +/- 5.5 percentage points.

  • Three in-person focus groups were conducted of participants of Hispanic ethnicity in Denver on May 2 and May 3, 2022.

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