As Latino voters prepare to head to the polls in less than two months, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund and Latino Decisions released the results of the first wave of a 10-week tracking poll of Latino registered voters.   

Results from the first week of the NALEO Educational Fund/Latino Decisions Weekly Political Tracking Poll offer exclusive insights into the Latino electorate this year, including Presidential and Congressional favorability, candidate positions, political party evaluations, policy issue priorities, and more.  The poll was conducted by Latino Decisions from August 28 – September 3, 2018, with more than 500 Latino registered voters interviewed for this first wave of results (with a margin of error of 4.4 percent). 

“This poll confirms what we have known for some time—that Latino voters are still being ignored by the nation’s major campaigns, political parties and funders,” stated Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund chief executive officer. “We are once again witnessing an overall lack of investment in Latino outreach efforts across the country in Election 2018, with the little funding that is available being diverted towards partisan outcomes.  If we want to make significant progress increasing the number of Americans who vote, we cannot afford to have history keep repeating itself by continuously ignoring the nation’s second largest population group election cycle after election cycle.  The time for change is now.”  

“Like most Americans, Latinos are fired up in 2018, however no voters automatically rush to the ballot box, they have to really believe that their vote will make a difference and that a specific candidate is going to fight for them,” said Matt Barreto, co-founder of Latino Decisions and Professor at UCLA.  “Parties and candidates should never assume they have a vote locked up, they need to constantly connect with the community and earn their vote.  When that happens, you will see a record Latino vote.” 

Key findings include:

• Election 2018 is viewed as pivotal.  Compared to the 2014 congressional elections, more than two in three Latino registered voters believe that it is more important to vote this year than in the previous midterm elections.

• Latino voters are still being ignored.  With Election Day less than two months away, nearly 60 percent of Latino registered voters reported that they have not been contacted by a campaign, political party or organization asking them to register or vote.

• Both political parties have a lot of work to do.  Results show that 45 percent of Latino registered voters polled believe the Democratic Party either does not care about or is hostile towards the Latino community.  This is in comparison to 79 percent of polled Latino registered voters who felt the same about the Republican Party, including 38 percent who believe that the Party is being hostile towards Latinos.

• Neither party has done a good job explaining what they stand for.  Large percentages of Latino voters do not feel that the two parties have done a good enough job explaining what they stand for and what they would do if they won a majority in Congress (42 percent for Democrats; 61 percent for Republicans).

• Stopping attacks on Latinos ranks as a top priority.  More than 31 percent of Latino voters view stopping President Trump and the Republican agenda, and putting an end to racist comments about Latinos, as the most important issues facing the Latino community.  Other top issues include lowering the costs of healthcare (20 percent), protecting immigrant rights (17 percent) and creating more jobs (13 percent).

• Latino voters consume news programming in both English and Spanish.  Polling shows that 92 percent of Latino voters watch at least some news and current affairs shows in English, compared to 75 percent of Latino voters who view a portion of their news programming in Spanish. Nearly one-third of Latino voters reported viewing shows in both languages equally.

• The Latino electorate is ready to play a decisive role in Election 2018.  More than 67 percent of polled Latino voters stated that they are certain to cast ballots in the congressional and statewide office contests this year.