Of all the numbers from our recent NBC News/Telemundo poll of Latino voters, this set maybe stands out the most: Conservative Latinos have gone from Democratic-leaning voters in 2012 to Republican base voters now.
In the merged NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls of 2012, 49% of self-described conservative Latinos said they preferred Democratic control of Congress, versus 40% who wanted Republicans in charge — a 9-point edge for Democrats.
But in our Sept. 2022 NBC News/Telemundo poll, a whopping 73% of conservative Latinos say they prefer Republicans in control of Congress, versus 17% who prefer Democrats — a 56-point advantage for the GOP.
That’s a net 65-point swing in a decade, and it helps to explain how Republicans have cut into Democrats’ lead among Latino voters.
It’s not the only demographic that’s shifted. Liberal Latinos, for instance, have gone from D+65 in 2012 to D+80 now.
And moderates have declined from D+49 to D+32 during that same time period.
What’s going on here?
Democratic pollster Aileen Cardona-Arroyo, who co-conducted the NBC/Telemundo poll, theorizes that this is part of a recent trend of political ideology (whether you’re conservative or liberal) aligning with political partisanship (whether you’re Republican or Democrat).
“The meaning of conservative and liberal has shifted over time, and how people self-identify ideologically today has a different meaning than it did in the past,” she said.