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Republicans have gained ground with Latinos since 2018, and many believe stolen election lies, poll finds

Nearly two of five Latinos who responded said they believe debunked claims that there was cheating and election fraud in 2020 and that Trump won.
Latino Trump supporters at Ace Speedway at a Trump rally in Elon, N.C., on Sept. 19, 2020.
Latino Trump supporters at Ace Speedway in Elon, N.C., on Sept. 19, 2020.Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images file

Republicans have gained ground with Latino voters since the 2018 “blue wave” midterm cycle, even though Hispanic voters still favor Democrats, a Latino tracking poll shows.

Support for Republicans in congressional races is up 10 percentage points over 2018, to 30%, according to the poll by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund.

Feelings among Latinos that the Republican Party is hostile to them have waned, with 27% of those Latinos polled saying the GOP is hostile, compared to 37% in 2018.

“Five weeks into our tracking poll, it’s becoming clear that Republicans have gained significant ground with Latino voters since the last midterm cycle,” Arturo Vargas, NALEO’s executive director said in a statement.

The poll found that 38% of Latinos believe it’s true or mostly true that there was cheating and election fraud in 2020 and that Trump was the election’s true winner. But 40 percent said it was mostly false or more false than true. Trump lost the election, and there’s been no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

This election, an estimated 34.5 million Latinos are eligible to vote — meaning they will be 18 or older on Election Day and are U.S. citizens, according to a report from Pew Research Center released this week. Latino eligible voters' numbers have jumped by 4.7 million since 2018 and are 62 percent of the total growth in U.S. eligible voters since the last midterms, Pew reported.

That makes Latinos the fastest growing racial and ethnic group in the U.S. electorate since the last midterm elections, although Black voters have higher turnout rates than Latinos and Asians. Asians were the fastest growing group of eligible voters over the past two decades, but their growth leveled off some in 2018, Pew reported.

Former President Donald Trump expanded Republicans' share of Latino voters in 2020, despite beliefs that policies considered anti-Latino such as separating children from their parents at the border and a nearly 19 percent unemployment rate among Latinos during his last year in office and in the midst of the pandemic would turn Latinos off. However, Joe Biden won the majority of Latino voters in the 2020 presidential election.

More support for GOP — while embracing Democratic positions

Even with the increased support for Republicans in congressional races, Latinos tended to support Democratic policy positions, such as President Joe Biden’s cancellation of $20,000 in student debt for some Americans: 75% support it versus 25% who are opposed. On guns, 74% support banning assault rifles, compared to 26% who do not. The poll also found that 88% support allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices on prescription drugs, and 12 percent oppose.

The poll also found that Latinos were more likely to say they would vote after being told about some of the Democrats’ achievements and issues such as the Inflation Reduction Act, the cancellation of student debt and the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. But a quarter to about 28 percent on each issue said the information had no impact.

While the latest NALEO poll presented some noteworthy findings, there were still signs of caution, said Stephen Nuño, a pollster with BSP Research, a Democratic polling firm.

For example, contact of Latinos from parties, candidates or political groups is higher than in previous years, with 52% saying they've been reached.

But there also is evidence of high exposure of Latinos to disinformation and significant acceptance of that disinformation, he said.

“Maybe it’s not good contact,” Nuño said.

About 63% of Latinos surveyed said they were exposed to the assertion that the Covid vaccine is an attempt to inject 5G chips into people to monitor the population. Also, 30% said that assertion was mostly true or more true than false, versus 39% who said it was more false than true or mostly false. Scientists have said it’s not possible for vaccines to have monitoring chips.

On abortion, 55% believe it is mostly true or more true than false that abortion is now illegal nationwide and that you can get arrested for abortion, while 26% thought it was mostly false or more false than true.

The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, rescinding the constitutional right to an abortion, gave states the power to regulate the procedure. Some states have banned it, while others still legally protect it.

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