Biden Is Losing Latino Voters, Could Republicans Scoop Them Up?

adriaticfoto /
adriaticfoto /

Historically, there are a few voting blocs Democrats could ignore, including the Black and Latino voters. For decades, it has been assumed that these two groups will blindly support a Democrat in the White House, but under President Joe Biden, it’s no longer a safe assumption. Democrats will need to woo both groups if they hope to retain the presidency and continue to reign supreme under Biden.

The problem began in the unlikeliest of places – the always safe-for-Democrats Black vote. A recent New York Times/Siena poll indicates that support for former President Donald Trump among Black voters has risen to 23%, a significant increase of 19 percentage points since October 2020. It’s a concerning trend for Joe Biden’s re-election campaign, as he received 92% of the Black vote in 2020. But disillusionment with Biden’s first term, unsustainable cost of living increases, and worries about his age threaten to weaken the Democrats’ traditionally strong bond with Black voters.

Despite Biden’s transparent efforts to pander to the Black community, including nominating Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court and selecting a vice president based on her race, voter support remains uncertain. While Black Americans aren’t entirely abandoning Biden, the polls suggest their support for Democrats may be less reliable than before, potentially impacting key battleground states in upcoming elections.

While Team Biden frantically tries to reclaim the Black vote, another group shows signs of dissent.

A national survey conducted by Florida International University (FIU) and the marketing firm Adsmovil reveals that approximately 19.4 percent of Latino voters, or about one in five, have contemplated changing their political affiliation. Among these wavering voters, just over 60% express openness to abandoning the Democratic Party, and 38.1% of Biden’s dissatisfied customers would consider aligning themselves with the Republican Party.

According to survey data from 1994 to 2017 analyzed by the Pew Research Center, there was generally no change in party affiliation among all registered voters. The same trend held for Hispanic and Latino voters between 2004 and 2017, with the proportion of Latino voters identifying as Democrats remaining stable at a 60-30 advantage to the left.

However, Latino political affiliations have shifted to the Democrats’ disadvantage. In the 2020 election, Trump gained ground with Latino voters, a trend that Republican candidates maintained during the 2022 midterms. Meanwhile, the Democratic advantage in the Latino vote decreased during and after Trump’s presidency. In 2017, Democrats held a 35-point lead over Republicans in terms of Latino voter identification, but two years later, that lead had diminished to 28 points.

Following the 2022 midterms, Pew noted that while partisan affiliation has remained relatively steady over the past two decades, the future of these trends is uncertain. Many Latino voters practice partisanship characterized by “soft ties” to political parties. Pew indicates that approximately one in ten Latino voters identify as Democrat or Republican, yet their ideological beliefs more closely align with the opposing party.

Democrats are pinning their hopes for a Biden victory on abortion, displaying an unparalleled tone-deafness to the issue’s divisiveness in the Latino community. Latinos, especially older generations, are primarily Catholic, a religion that denounces abortion. Only half of U.S. Latinos hold the belief that abortion should be legal, although one-fourth of Latinos argue it should be illegal under all circumstances.

Generational differences play a notable role in shaping these views: immigrants tend to lean more conservatively, with only 41% supporting legal abortion, while second and third-generation are more supportive. Language also appears to influence opinions, as only 29% of Latinos who exclusively speak Spanish at home support legal abortion. This means that, despite Democrat maneuvers at the borders, their abortion-focus strategy may fall flat for illegal immigrants hailing from Latino countries.

But Latinos don’t care about abortion rights, the pet strategy of Democrats approaching the 2024 election. Only one in ten respondents considered abortion among their top three concerns, ranking it considerably lower than issues such as inflation, gun violence, or the approach to “climate change,” all issues in which the Biden administration is failing miserably.

Dwindling support for Biden should mean more support for Trump in 2024, but because this voting bloc does not historically turn out for elections, picking up the Latino vote may not be easy for Republicans. Given the lack of enthusiasm for Trump and Biden, many may choose to sit this one out. Democrats are better at turning out voters than Republicans, but they face an unsettling truth. Liberals can no longer ignore the Latino vote, and time is running out to win them back.