Latino Youth Fired up To Vote
In less than 50 days Latino voters will be making one of the most important political decisions of their lives. The November presidential elections matter greatly to those who are worried about ending the Covid-19 crisis, managing their children’s education, and returning to full time work. Several new polls show that Latino youth are highly motivated to vote and see 2020 as an opportunity for political change.
Various organizations have focused on Latino youths and as a result we know more about their political opinions in comparison to other age groups. A few weeks before the Democratic National Convention [DNC], The Alliance for Youth Action conducted a series of polls in collaboration with Civiqs which revealed important data on the political leanings of today’s young population.
Among all youth, the Alliance found that Covid-19 represented their “number one issue priority.” Half of these young voters [50%] also ranked affordable healthcare among their top three priorities in the upcoming election. The Alliance also noted that while “only two-thirds [61%] have a very or somewhat favorable view of Biden, if the election were held today, 86% of young Latino voters would vote for Biden.”
The release of Latino youth polling data following the DNC convention is of special interest to candidates engaged in lining up votes in the battleground states. On September 10 of this year, in partnership with Buzz Feed News, Telemundo released “Young Latinos: A Generation of Change,” an in-depth study “examining a wide range of political and social views of young Latinos.” Conducted as a national online survey, the study only engaged Latino voters ages 18-34.
The poll’s major findings noted that overall 64% of the young Latinos were motivated to vote in the upcoming presidential election. This is important because in the 2016 election Latino voting participation dropped
slightly from the previous two elections of 2008 and 2012 when Barack Obama won.
Among the most surprising findings were notably the response of young Latinos regarding Black Lives Matter
[BLM] and issues of racial equality. Young Latinos responded by a wide margin, [82%], that the “BLM
protest movement motivated them to vote.” Likewise, 85% said issues “that address racial inequality and
systemic barriers are most likely to motivate them to vote.”
Of significance in the Telemundo survey was the Latino youth’s high response to the impact of Covid-19.
Eighty-five percent of respondents said “the pandemic had affected their health or finances.”
Latinos have traditionally voted with the Democratic party, and the youth category shows strong support for the Biden-Harris team. While 50% of the Latino youth surveyed described themselves as Democrats, 13% said
they were Republicans. Slightly less than a fifth [19%] of the Latino youth polled responded favorably to voting for President Trump.
There are several battleground states which political strategists view as essential for a presidential win: Florida
is one of those states. Jonathan Martin and Patricia Mazzei of the New York Times recently reported, “it is Mr. Biden’s apparent slippage with Hispanics that’s garnering the most attention and has Democrats wringing their hands” in Florida. [September 15, 2020]. The good news in Florida is that the billionaire Michael Bloomberg just committed to spend $100 million in the Sunshine State on behalf of the Biden campaign.
In Florida the votes of white retirees and Cuban Americans have historically made a difference. Recent
surveys show that 90% of the electorate in Florida have made up their minds, so both campaigns are heavily
courting the undecided and independent voters in key Florida counties. While Covid-19 is preventing person-to-person dialogue, campaign workers are relying on telephone calls and social media to get the word out.
It is likely that young Latino voters will make a difference in Florida and other key battleground states such as Arizona, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania where a sizable number of Latinos now reside. There is one additional factor that may help the Biden-Harris campaign–demography.
The Telemundo study, “Decision 2020” notes that because the non-Latino population declined by 2.5 million in the decade 2008 to 2018, Latinos contributed “all [100%] of the numerical growth of registered voters ages
18 to 34. In 2020 there are an additional one million more Latino young voters compared to when Obama first ran in 2008. Today, 32 million Latinos are eligible to go to the polls in November. If the majority of those Latinos vote, they will make a major contribution to a Biden-Harris victory.
Copyright 2020 by Dr. Ricardo Romo. “We stand Together” photo copyrighted by Barrio Dog Productions Inc. All other photos in the public domain.