Just a few weeks before the midterm elections, which will determine the future of the House of Representatives in Washington D.C., among other key positions, a survey revealed that political parties have not done enough to reach Latino voters. These voters will be essential in several very close races in North Carolina.
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund and the company Latino Decisions published a series of surveys that were conducted over a three-week period. They asked survey questions to registered Latino voters nationwide, and one of the most striking results indicated that 60% of Latino voters feel that they are being ignored by the political parties.
Latinos registered to vote reported that they have not yet been contacted by a candidate or political party. Among the Latinos surveyed, those most likely to report being ignored were: voters over 70 years old (72% said no one contacted them), foreign-born voters (67%), Latinos earning less than $40,000 year (66%), and Latinas (64%).
The NALEO and Latino Decisions survey highlights two issues that the voters from this community generally support. The first issue is a legal resolution for young people covered by DACA (also called
dreamers). The second is for a law to be enacted requiring universal background checks for people who want to buy firearms.
In all states and across all demographic groups, including Republicans, there is overwhelming support among Latino voters for the approval of the DREAM Act (80%). Additionally, 85% of these voters believe that it is important to have background checks for the purchase of weapons.
According to the survey, 67% of Latino voters said they would most likely vote in the elections on November 6. The two issues that most concern this group are protecting immigrants’ rights (27%) and increasing wages (26%).
The Latino vote has been essential in deciding very close races. Just to cite an example, in 2008 the polls indicated that there was a tie in North Carolina between the Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his Republican rival John McCain. Finally, on the day of the elections, Obama won the state’s 15 electoral college delegates. This led him to win the presidency, thanks to around 14,000 votes. That year at least 26,000 Latinos voted, most of whom voted for Obama.
With this in mind, it is regrettable that political parties in general (and candidates in particular) do not do a better job of motivating and winning the support of Latino voters. It is true that, historically speaking, Latino voter participation has not been huge. However, it would be absurd to ignore this fact: according to data from the State Board of Elections, as of September 15, there were 191,583 Latino voters registered in North Carolina.