I missed this yesterday but David Freddoso didn’t. His headline: ¡Vamos, Brandon!
Liberals can tell themselves the new one from Quinnipiac is Just One Poll if they like, but it really isn’t. The Hispanic numbers here might be unusually bad and outlier-ish for Biden but the trendlines within the group are clear across multiple polls. To make inroads with Hispanics, Republicans needed two things to happen. First, they had to shift away from Paul-Ryan-style libertarianism towards something that was at least a little more economically populist, to cut into Democrats’ blue-collar advantage. Trump took care of that, albeit in his messaging more so than his policies. Second, they needed Democrats to cede cultural ground by drifting out towards the leftist fringe, giving the GOP a chance to claim the mantle of the “common sense” alternative. The wokesters took care of that.
Culturally and economically, in other words, Republicans needed to boost their appeal to the working class, a faction with a huge number of Hispanics. They did it. And now here we are.
For years, Democrats’ theory of the case in maintaining a stranglehold on the Hispanic vote was identity politics. Go left on immigration towards open borders and condemn Republican policies to the contrary as racist. The goal was to cultivate the Hispanic vote as a racial bloc almost as solid, and solidly Democratic, as African-Americans. As you scroll through these results, compare whether Hispanics look more like white voters or more like black voters in their opinions as a gauge of whether that Democratic strategy seems to have borne out. Here’s Biden’s job approval:
The share of Hispanics who “strongly disapprove” of his performance is 41 percent, exceeding the 29 percent who approve even somewhat. Here’s Biden’s job approval on the economy:
And here’s the response when people are asked which factor they believe is primarily causing inflation:
Even on a question unrelated to economics, like whether Biden has demonstrated strong leadership in mobilizing NATO against Russia, Hispanics are far more closely aligned with whites than with blacks:
Mike Madrid is an anti-Trump Republican who co-founded the Lincoln Project but the op-ed he published last week wasn’t aimed at the right. It was aimed at the left, warning them that as they transform into a party that caters culturally to college graduates, they risk bleeding Hispanic votes:
The growing cultural divide in America, in which Hispanics appear to be increasingly turned off by progressive mottos and movements, is linked to the education divide in America between college-educated and non-college-educated voters of all ethnicities. According to Pew Research, Republicans increasingly dominate in party affiliation among white non-college voters, who make up 57 percent of G.O.P. voters. This in a country where 64 percent of voters do not have a college degree.
The Democratic Party is losing its brand among white working-class voters and Hispanics. This is especially pronounced among Hispanic men and Hispanic non-college-educated voters, who are trending more Republican, just as their white non-college-educated peers are. Latinos are increasingly voting similarly to non-college whites, perhaps because they don’t view themselves as all that different from them. Pew Research studies on Hispanic identity have shown that fully half of the country’s Hispanics viewed themselves as “a typical American”; fewer identified as “very different from a typical American.”
The great irony of the Democrats’ misguided “racial bloc” approach to Hispanic voters is that, inasmuch as Hispanics are a bloc at all, they’re a non-college-educated bloc. Democrats held an advantage with those working-class voters so long as the GOP was perceived as the party of the country-club business class. But as that perception faded (somewhat) under Trump, and as Dems refashioned themselves more overtly as the party of the intelligentsia, they’ve lost some of their working-class advantage. Where do they make up those votes?
A few weeks ago, Harry Enten looked at various polls to try gauge whether the gains Trump made among Hispanics in 2020 were flukes or the beginning of an emerging trend. Answer: Not flukes.
If anything, the picture gets better for Republicans when you examine Biden’s popularity. Across the CNN, Fox and Quinnipiac polls this year, the President’s net approval rating averages +2 points with Hispanic Americans. That’s 17 points better than his net approval rating with voters overall in these polls (-15 points).
In the 2020 election, Biden’s margin with Hispanic voters was about 23 points better than it was overall.
So compared with 2020, Biden is doing worse with Hispanics relative to how he is doing with voters overall. That’s notable given that earlier in his presidency, Biden was doing significantly better among Hispanics relative to how he was doing overall and compared with how he did in 2020.
Trump may have gotten the ball rolling but Biden’s performance kept it rolling and now it’s anyone’s guess how many Hispanics might be open to voting Republican in 2022 and 2024 if they see the right combination of blue-collar economic and cultural messaging. The no-brainer move for the GOP amid that trend is to nominate someone for president who can walk that walk while also holding down Democrats’ margins with college grads by not spooking educated voters with insane Trumpy antics. DeSantis is an obvious possibility, as is Greg Abbott. Maybe even Glenn Youngkin. Mobilize the less educated voters while not giving the more educated ones reason to mobilize themselves. Easy peasy.