Or should we call it “Latinx shift“? That might have more accuracy, but clearly more is in play when looking at these numbers from the Wall Street Journal’s latest poll. Allahpundit wrote yesterday about Joe Biden’s overall job-approval decline, but this should be even more worrisome to Biden’s Democratic allies:
🚨🚨 New poll from @WSJ shows a seismic shift among Hispanic voters:
☑️ Biden’s approval rating among Hispanics is 12 pts underwater
☑️ For the first time, Hispanics are now evenly split on the 2022 Congressional ballot
☑️ Biden is only +1 in a 2024 rematch with Trump pic.twitter.com/dHX1BPM2M0
— Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) December 8, 2021
The WSJ’s initial poll analysis never made mention of this “seismic shift,” but Aaron Zitner focused on it today in a follow-up:
The nation’s large and diverse group of Hispanic voters is showing signs of dividing its support between Democrats and Republicans more evenly than in recent elections, a new Wall Street Journal poll finds, a troubling development for the Democratic Party, which has long counted on outsize Hispanic support.
One year after giving Democratic House candidates more than 60% of their vote, according to polls at the time, the Journal survey found that Hispanic voters are evenly split in their choice for Congress. Asked which party they would back if the election were today, 37% of Hispanic voters said they would support the Republican congressional candidate and 37% said they would favor the Democrat, with 22% undecided.
Hispanic voters were also evenly divided when asked about a hypothetical rematch in 2024 of the last presidential contenders, with 44% saying they would back President Biden and 43% supporting former President Donald Trump. In 2020, Mr. Biden won 63% support among Hispanic voters, nearly 30 points more than Mr. Trump, according to AP VoteCast, a large survey of the presidential electorate.
Zitner points up another big problem for Democrats in this shift — demography:
Hispanic voters account for about 1 in 8 eligible voters and are one of the fastest-growing groups in the electorate, factors that compound Democratic fears about any deterioration in support.
“Latinos are more and more becoming swing voters.…They’re a swing vote that we’re going to have to fight for,’’ said Democratic pollster John Anzalone, whose company conducted The Wall Street Journal Poll along with the firm of Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio.
A few years ago, Democrats confidently predicted that demographics were destiny and that their party would leverage diversity into era-long political power. In my book Going Red, I questioned that claim, not because of the population progression but because Democrats seemed to have just assumed that Hispanics would always primarily vote for them. I also wondered whether Hispanics really wanted to lock themselves into the same electoral predicament as black voters, whose 90%-plus support for Democrats had made them largely irrelevant to both parties. The party that learned to listen to Hispanic voters and craft messages of inclusion would win that vote, I predicted.
While it’s not clear that Republicans have actually heeded that advice, it’s become clear that Democrats didn’t listen at all. Not only did they take Hispanic voters for granted in much the same way they do with black voters, they set out to actively annoy them with hyper-progressive language manipulations such as “Latinx.” Those voters won’t cast votes for Republicans simply for that word, but John hit the nail on the head in his post that the language signals the sharp left turn executed by Democrats. It’s one thing to float it as a trial balloon, but it’s another to keep insisting on its use when it’s clearly despised by the population it purports to describe.
It’s the worst form of paternalism and preening elitist pretension. Republicans might need to improve significantly on outreach and engagement with Hispanic voters (and very much so with black voters, as I also advise in Going Red), but at least they’re not actively insulting that demographic. Furthermore, their critical-race-theory-obsessed messaging sends a signal to Hispanic voters that in the demographic priority list, they’re likely to always come in a distant second.
More to the point, though, this shows that Hispanic voters aren’t really all that interested in demography or consolidated power. Black voters have significant historical reasons to prioritize that kind of organization and unity, although it has left them without any negotiating room between the two parties in this era. Hispanic voters appear more issue oriented, a point the pollsters make too:
Messrs. Anzalone and Fabrizio said the poll showed that economic issues were the main concern among Hispanic voters, drawing Hispanic men, in particular, toward the GOP.
Hispanic voters in the survey ranked economic issues as the priority for Mr. Biden and Congress to address. Hispanic men said Republicans had the better economic policy, by a margin of 17 points. Hispanic women, by contrast, said Democrats had better economic plans, by a 10-point margin.
A majority of Hispanic men said they would like to return to the policies that Mr. Trump pursued as president, while a majority of Hispanic women said they would rather stick with Mr. Biden’s policies.
Substack columnist Chris Arnade put it more succinctly when challenged:
Lots of things
1) they are not Dems
2) back row Hispanics (especially recent immigrants) are unabashedly pro American. In a flag hugging way that embarrasses some Dem activist
3) more & more growing economic success
4) tough on crime
5) culturally conservative https://t.co/GLJsdLHRhG
— Chris Arnade 🐢 (@Chris_arnade) December 8, 2021
That gives Republicans room to make real inroads into the nation’s fastest growing demographic. Success would give them an organic political advantage in elections for cycles to come, too, and might even make them more competitive in urban areas eventually. As Democrats keep getting more extreme, Republicans just need to get more engaging. Can they manage it? Their track record isn’t spectacular on this point, but for the moment they’re doing better at doing no harm than Democrats and their faculty-lounge obsessions.
Addendum: Sopo later pointed out that it’s not just the WSJ poll showing the Hispanic shift:
🚨🚨 Another poll — this time from YouGov/The Economist — shows Biden’s approval rating is tanking with Hispanics.
Maybe if the Democrats keep calling Hispanics “Latinx” and “racist,” that will fix the problem? pic.twitter.com/uCl8J3lHBZ
— Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) December 8, 2021
If I worked at the White House, I might be as worried about the 21% disapproval among black voters, especially the 13% that strongly disapprove. Also, pay close attention to the 51% overall disapproval from female voters, a very big problem in another core Democrat demo.