His­pan­ics down on Trump, but many don’t vote

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY KELLEN BROWN­ING kbrown­[email protected]­clatchydc.com Kellen Brown­ing, 202-383- 6102, @kel­len_brown­ing

Nearly 7 in 10 His­pan­ics dis­ap­prove of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, a new Pew Re­search Cen­ter sur­vey found, but it’s un­clear whether they’ll take out that frus­tra­tion next month by vot­ing Demo­cratic – or vot­ing at all.

Pew, whose poll­sters spoke to more than 1,500 His­panic peo­ple around the coun­try be­tween late July and early Septem­ber, found that 69 per­cent were un­happy with how Trump is han­dling the pres­i­dency. And they’re down­beat and pes­simistic about their eco­nomic sit­u­a­tions and the state of pol­i­tics in the United States.

Democrats are hop­ing for a strong turnout from His­panic vot­ers, which they need to give them the edge in key races around the coun­try as they vie to take con­trol of Con­gress.

Forty-four per­cent of His­pan­ics said the Demo­cratic party “has more con­cern” for His­pan­ics, ver­sus 11 per­cent who said the Repub­li­can party does, but that num­ber was lower than it was in 2016 (51 per­cent) or 2015 (48 per­cent).

“Many His­pan­ics have in the past told us in our sur­veys that Democrats and Repub­li­cans share blame for no im­mi­gra­tion re­form be­ing passed,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, Pew’s di­rec­tor of global mi­gra­tion and de­mog­ra­phy.

Lopez re­called how, in 2016, “there was a lot of con­ver­sa­tion that Lati­nos were go­ing to turn out to vote be­cause they were an­gry about the way Don- ald Trump had talked about Mex­i­can im­mi­grants, about im­mi­grants gen­er­ally.”

But the per­cent­age of el­i­gi­ble His­pan­ics who voted that year was lower than in the pre­vi­ous two pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. “Is it pos­si­ble that the same dy­nam­ics are at place this year? We don’t know – it re­mains to be seen,” Lopez said.

The His­pan­ics polled by Pew had neg­a­tive views of Trump and the U.S. un­der his pres­i­dency – 47 per­cent said the sit­u­a­tion for His­pan­ics is worse to­day than it was a year ago, and 55 per­cent worry a lot or some­what about de­por­ta­tion. But there’s an­other chal­lenge in mo­bi­liz­ing the anti-Trump brigade: Many will not be able to ex­press their out­rage by vot­ing.

About 30 per­cent of re­spon­dents said they were not U.S. cit­i­zens, mean­ing they are not el­i­gi­ble to vote. Over­all, 67 per­cent of His­pan­ics sur­veyed said they were reg­is­tered to vote.

Na­tion­ally, the num­ber of His­pan­ics el­i­gi­ble to vote this No­vem­ber is at a record-high of 29 mil­lion, Pew found – but that doesn’t mean more will vote. Midterm His­panic turnout has been drop­ping for the past decade, and hit a record-low of 27 per­cent of el­i­gi­ble vot­ers in 2014.

There are some signs that His­panic vot­ers could be more en­gaged this time. Fifty-two per­cent said they’ve given the midterm “quite a lot” of thought, up from 35 per­cent be­fore the 2014 midterm and 32 per­cent in 2010.

The open House seat in south­ern New Mex­ico, Repub­li­can Rep. David Val­adao’s seat in Cal­i­for­nia’s Cen­tral Val­ley and the Texas Se­nate seat oc­cu­pied by Repub­li­can Ted Cruz are just a few of the races that could be prime Demo­cratic tar­gets – if His­panic vot­ers show up and vote Demo­cratic on Elec­tion Night, ac­cord­ing to Kyle Kondik, the manag­ing edi­tor of Sa­bato’s Crys­tal Ball, which stud­ies elec­tion trends.

Kondik said Democrats shouldn’t be pin­ning their hopes on a surge of His­panic vot­ers.

“It seems like in the places where Democrats are heav­ily re­liant on His­panic vot­ers, those races have not nec­es­sar­ily de­vel­oped in the ways that Democrats have hoped, in part be­cause … (His­panic vot­ers) are just a lower turnout group in gen­eral, par­tic­u­larly in midterms,” Kondik said.

Be­cause of this trend, dis­tricts that should be flip­pable, such as Repub­li­can Rep. Will Hurd’s seat along the Texas-Mex­ico bor­der, ap­pear to be rel­a­tively safe for Repub­li­cans, Kondik said.

Democrats have bet­ter prospects in sub­ur­ban dis­tricts where col­legee­d­u­cated white vot­ers ap­pear to be turn­ing on the pres­i­dent, Kondik has found.

Democrats have ded­i­cated $25 mil­lion to turn­ing out mi­nori­ties, women and younger vot­ers.

“Turn­ing out Latino Demo­cratic vot­ers will be key to our vic­tory,” said Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee spokesman Javier Gam­boa. “The DCCC was on (the) ground in di­verse swing dis­tricts talk­ing to vot­ers and build­ing last­ing re­la­tion­ships with the grass­roots within days of Pres­i­dent Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion.”

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