Oct 20, 2022 - Podcasts

Latinos’ hold on the American swing vote

With midterms right around the corner, Democrats hold less than a 2-to-1 advantage over Republicans among Latino voters, according to the latest Axios-Ipsos Latino poll in partnership with Noticias Telemundo. And nearly 1 in 4 Latinos are still undecided about how they’ll vote in just a few weeks. These findings confirm Latinos’ collective status as the ultimate American swing vote.

  • Plus, a bright spot for women at work.
  • And, medical marijuana is coming to some gas stations.

Guests: Axios’ Russell Contreras, Emily Peck and Selene San Felice.

Credits: Axios Today is produced by Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Alexandra Botti, Robin Linn, Lydia McMullen-Laird, Fonda Mwangi, and Alex Sugiura. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at [email protected]. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

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NIALA: Good morning! Welcome to Axios Today!

It’s Thursday, October 20th.

I’m Niala Boodhoo.

Here’s what we’re covering today: a bright spot for women at work. Plus, medical marijuana is coming to some gas stations.

But first, Latino voters, undecided. That’s today’s One Big Thing.

NIALA: With midterms right around the corner, Democrats hold less than a 2-to-1 advantage over Republicans among Latino voters. That's according to the latest Axios Ipsos Latino poll in partnership with Noticias Telemundo. And nearly one in four Latinos are still undecided about how they're gonna vote in just a couple of weeks. These findings confirm Latino's collective status is the ultimate American swing vote heading into November, says Axios’ Race and Justice Reporter Russell Contreras, who's here to explain, Hey Russ.

RUSSELL CONTRERAS: Thanks for having me.

NIALA: Russ, we know that Latinos are a very diverse and huge group of voters, but what have we learned about their relationship to the major parties from this poll?

RUSSELL: Well, this poll shows that about 33% of those surveyed are gonna vote for Democrats and about 18 are gonna go for Republicans. Kind of goes in line, what we've seen before, it's usually been a 65, 35 split in historic elections. But this one's interesting because there's a high number one in four who say they don't know who they're gonna vote for and this uncertainty is creating a lot of angst with the upcoming midterms. In the last election, 2020, we saw a high number of Latinos than expected, higher number than expected vote for Donald Trump. This is creating that uncertainty that's getting a lot of Democrats very nervous.

NIALA 2: So let's talk about some of the issues. What are some of the main reasons Latino voters aren't sure which party they wanna vote for?

RUSSELL: Well, according to our surveys, over and over, inflation and crime ranked number one and two. Latinos are like everybody else concerned about the economy. They're concerned about rising crime we've seen since the pandemic. We've seen a lot of cities, according to the FBI data that showed crime is going up. Abortion is not as high. It didn't rank up there among the top three. Immigration in our other surveys ranked about five or six. This one shot up to number three, and it's probably because immigration was in the news in recent weeks. When we polled Latinos who they thought was the better party on immigration, interestingly, 30% of Latinos said neither party was good on immigration. In general, Latinos favor the issues that Democrats support, abortion, immigration except crime and inflation or crime in the economy they give Republicans a slight edge. This is very encouraging for Republicans going into a very close election.

NIALA: Russ, how is each party trying to solidify the Latino vote, given that we've just got a couple weeks to go here?

RUSSELL: Republicans this year have been opening up community centers in predominantly Latino neighborhoods across the country, and Democrats try to start early and try to engage Latino voters. But as I talk to political consultants, they say they're seeing more of the same that they have every year. Largely white-owned political firms are running campaigns for Latino candidates, missing a lot of clear signs where they could make more inroads. And Republicans, to their credit, have recruited a lot of Latino candidates to run in these seats. But their engagement is low, meaning they're saying, here are candidates. They're not engaging, saying what do you think?

Latino voters tend to be moderate, whether you're talking about Mexican American voters in Texas or even some Latino voters in Florida, they're a little bit more moderate than the major parties. So if you engage with them, if you tell them, if you're not just going out saying, go out and vote for my candidate. If you actually listen to them, you're gonna come up with a different worldview that may conflict with your current agenda.

NIALA: Axios’ Race and Justice reporter Russell Contreras. Thanks Russ.

RUSSELL: Thanks for having me.

NIALA: In a moment, new data on how the workplace is looking different for women.


A bright spot for women at work

NIALA: Welcome back to Axios Today, I'm Niala Boodhoo.

Two recent data points suggest that working mothers may have more options today when it comes to their jobs. The first study from the National Bureau of Economic Research says that the growth of remote work has contributed to a mini baby boom. And another report from McKenzie and LeanIn.org has found that women leaders are leaving companies at high rates, resulting in what they're calling “The Great Breakup.”

Joining us to talk about these changes for women in the workplace is Axios correspondent Emily Peck. Hi Emily.

EMILY PECK: Hey, Niala.

NIALA: Let's talk about this mini baby boom, first. How did our birth rate trends change last year?

EMILY: So ever since 2007 with the great recession, fertility, birth rates in the United States have been falling and demographers, economists, people, have been fretting about this. And these researchers dug deep into the data and found actually for US women, birth rates went up. They were 6.2% above where they would have been if pre-Covid trends had continued.

NIALA: So you said US women, but this isn't happening across the board. What groups saw the biggest increase in birth rates?

EMILY: US women, particularly first time mothers, and particularly college educated women, were the ones among which this was most pronounced. Another category of moms saw decline, and that's foreign born mothers, people who come here and have babies. That didn't happen in 2020 because we shut the borders.

NIALA: This change in birth rate is not what economists and social scientists had expected. So what ended up happening here?

EMILY: The economists behind this paper, you know, they put forward a few theories on what happened. One is that college educated women in particular were able to work remotely, and that means it was kind of easier to be pregnant at work and to have a baby. One person I spoke to said she and her husband definitely decided to have a kid because they were both working remotely and she knew he would be around. So it was a real kind of revolution in terms of flexibility.

So typically when it's a recession and people are facing hard times, that's not like the ideal time to have a child. But this recession was sharp and fast. And then there was a flood of federal government money that came into people's bank accounts. And the fast recovery meant people felt actually more optimistic, financially, at least, to have children. The third thing is that abortion restrictions might have meant for some women having babies that maybe they didn't plan on having.

NIALA: I also wanna ask you about this “great breakup.” One of the authors of the report said, “Women are not breaking up with work. They're breaking up with their companies.” Why is this happening now?

EMILY: It's happening, I mean, first of all, because the job market has been amazing. Quit rates for men were high too. It's just that women's quit rates, women leaders' quit rates were higher. And then what the McKenzie / Lean In study talks about is women don't always feel treated very well at work. They report having other people take credit for their ideas at work or various microaggressions. They don't get promoted at the same rates as men do. So all of that is the kind of thing that would push you to find a different job.

NIALA: So I feel like this adds more evidence to dispel the notion that women “leaned out” because of pressures from the pandemic. Is it fair to say that more women and working mothers have better opportunities or options now when it comes to work?

EMILY: White collar women, the women who are probably more educated, who can work remotely, felt like they had the flexibility maybe to have children, which is a pretty huge thing. Or, you know, they had the opportunity to switch jobs. It was, and continues to be really hard for a lot of people. There's still a childcare shortage. But they might have more opportunities now than before.

NIALA: Emily Peck is an Axios business reporter. Thanks as always, Emily.

EMILY: Thank you.

Medical marijuana is coming to some gas stations

NIALA: One last thing before we go today. Some Florida residents will be able to buy marijuana in gas stations soon. Axios Tampa Bay reporter Selene San Felice has the details.

SELENE SAN FELICE: Circle K just signed a deal with a company called Green Thumb Industries so they can actually start selling medical marijuana at their gas stations and stores in Florida. The chain's gonna have dispensaries at 10 locations including one in Pinellas Park, which is in Tampa Bay, and then some others in Miami, West Palm Beach and Orlando. The dispensaries at Circle K stores are expected to open in the new year. They probably picked Florida since we have the biggest medical marijuana market in the nation with more than 700,000 people with medical marijuana cards. So you're definitely gonna be looking at more deals like this coming in the future.

NIALA: That’s Axios Tampa Bay reporter Selene San Felice.

That’s it for us today! Remember to subscribe to Axios Today – or follow us, if you listen on Apple podcasts…search for Axios Today and click the plus button in the upper right hand corner so it becomes a checkmark. It’s free - and you won’t miss an episode.

I’m Niala Boodhoo - thanks for listening - stay safe and we’ll see you back here tomorrow morning.

NIALA: Kai Wright grew up in the Black church. And his favorite part was the hugs, the winks, the check-ins with people. Join him to gather, process, and figure out where this country is going, together. Find Notes From America wherever you get podcasts.

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