In recent years, there has been a notable shift in the dynamics of Latino voters and their party identification in the upcoming 2024 presidential election. Narratives around a potential rightward shift among Hispanic voters has become popular over the last few months. However, a comprehensive analysis of the numbers suggests a more nuanced reality that is going to prove vital in the elections facing both the country and our state this year. Especially here in Alaska where, according to data by Enlaces, a local non-profit organization that advocates to advance social justice and equity for Latinos and Hispanics in the North, Latinos constitute 46% of Alaska’s population growth over the past decade, making up 7.7% of the state’s total population. So, as we delve into this election year, it’s vital to understand who the Latino voters are, their interests and why their voice matters for the U.S. political parties.
A recent analysis by FiveThirtyEight, drawing on data from the Cooperative Election Study (CES) conducted by Harvard University, reveals that, contrary to the perception of a significant rightward shift, the data indicates that Hispanic voters remain left-leaning on key issues such as immigration and environmental policy. However, in other areas, their views align closely with the general electorate. One of these issues was the area of immigration, a particularly salient topic for the community. The CES data reveals that on immigration issues, Hispanic voters stand out as more liberal than the general electorate. In 2020, they were 14 points more likely to support legal status for immigrants who held jobs and had a clean record. Additionally, they were less supportive of measures such as increasing border security and curbing legal immigration.
This liberal position on immigration is a key factor differentiating Hispanic voters from the broader electorate, and especially interesting to notice as the topic becomes central to the larger political debate. However, it’s not the only notable aspect of the Latino vote. It’s also vital to consider their age. They are younger voters. Over 30% of Latino voters are under 30, compared to 21% of the general electorate. This significant portion belongs to a generation that tends to be more diverse and left leaning. In contrast, only 13% of Hispanic voters are 65 or older, comparedto 22% of the general electorate. It’s also important to note that there is a significant education divide: about half of Hispanic voters having only a high school education, presenting a unique demographic challenge for both political parties.
Moreover, this demographic is growing. Data by the think tank Brookings highlights growth in the number of eligible Hispanic voters, a growth of 4.7 million since 2018. This is especially notable in battleground states like Nevada and Arizona, where they constitute 40% of newly eligible voters. The 2020 election saw decisive participation from Latino youth, further emphasizing their role in shaping the political landscape. In addition, in the 2022 midterms, over 11.8 million Latinos voted across several states, underscoring the growing impact of the Latino electorate.
Yet, it’s important to highlight that their liberal positions do not equate with support for the Democratic Party. Further research conducted by Brookings found that while only 4% believe the Democratic Party is hostile toward the Latino community, 37% feel that President Biden and Democrats don’t sufficiently care about their concerns. Over a third of young Latinos believe that Republicans do care. So, there’s evidence of an emerging shift in the relationships with political parties. The Latino electorate is poised to play a pivotal role in the 2024 presidential election, as well as the municipal elections in Anchorage on April 4th. So, the call to action is clear: mobilize to vote. Your voice matters, and the choices made in the upcoming election will shape the trajectory of the nation for years to come.
PROUDLY POWERED BY SOL DE MEDIANOCHE NEWS, LLC. Sol de Medianoche is a monthly publication of the Latino community in Anchorage, Alaska