Latino voters are leaning Republican in some competitive California congressional districts, which could make it difficult for Democrats to retake the House of Representatives in 2024, according to a recent report from Third Way.
In the Democrat-dominant state, many first-time Latino voters are heading to the polls in support of more conservative values. This was prevalent during the Trump administration between 2016–2020, as the Latinos across the country began to move away from the Democrat party, the report says.
The report illustrates which districts were most swayed into supporting the Republican party.
In addition to California, the data examines the impact of Republican campaigns in Latino districts in Arizona, New York, Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, and Florida.
California has 14 Latino-majority districts, where a Democrat and a Republican both made the 2022 ballot. In 2022, voters in these districts swung Republican by 10.8 points compared to 2020 and 7.1 points compared to 2018.
Most of the districts were located in central and Southern California.
“Of the 36 competitive congressional districts decided by five points or less in 2022, five came from California and had highly concentrated Latino populations,” the report said.
California Democrats may find it challenging to gain back the edge over Republicans with Latino voters in future elections.
Low Turnout at Elections
Lucas Holtz, the author of the Third Way report, told The Sacramento Bee the data shows the effect of a low turnout during midterm elections.
“California Democrats have a major challenge on their hands,” Holtz said. “They’re not driving turnout … even with an insane amount of investments and those that they are turning out, they’re clearly not persuading.”
Holtz added that Democratic candidates should improve their strategies to gain Latino voters back before 2024.
Republican Latino voting trends expert Mike Madrid told the Los Angeles Times in 2022 that the multi-ethnic working-class vote will determine the balance of political power in America’s future.
“The Democratic Party has a problem with the working-class part,” he said. “The Republican Party has a problem with the multi-ethnic part.”
Mindy Romero, director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Inclusive Democracy, told The Sacramento Bee that the 2022 midterm election turnout for California Latinos was “deeply disappointing,” and that many people working in Latino communities are trying to understand the reason for the low turnout.
Low midterm election turnout by Latinos has been a result of candidates only visiting communities during election season, Romero said, while some people might not vote due to fear of choosing the wrong candidate.
Latinos are the youngest demographic in America and are part of a growing young adult voter base that will be eligible to vote in 2024, according to Politico.
Voto Latino president María Teresa Kumar explained in an interview with Politico that many young Latinos are just becoming familiar with their voting options, adding that the majority of Latino voters are under the age of 33.
“By default, they’re low-propensity,” she said. “It doesn’t mean they’re detached—they’re just flowing into the process. They should be taken seriously because they have the ear of their family in a way no party does.”