Indecision reigns in new AARP poll of older Latino and mostly Latina voters. Dems lose ground
The findings suggest that Latinas are the key swing demographic politicians need to focus on.
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On Tuesday, Oct. 11, AARP External Relations Advisor Gil Cabrera hosted a roundtable discussion over Zoom to speak on the latest AARP Poll, ‘She’s the Difference: Survey of Likely Voters Age 50 and Older,’ that examines the most pressing issues and concerns for Latino and mainly Latina voters of the ages 50 and over.
It also paints a picture of the latest out-of-the-ordinary trends that have occurred in recent times among Latino and Latina voters and how they plan on voting this November. The findings give an insight into how some voters are still very much undecided with less than a month to go, an uncommon trend in comparison to previous election cycles.
Joined by Cabrera were four of the top public opinion pollsters and political strategists in the field who also were the ones who conducted the research for the poll. This includes Matt Hogan, a Partner at Impact Research, Bob Ward of Fabrizio Ward LLC, Celinda Lake, Founder and President of Lake Research Partners, and Kristen Soltis Anderson, Founding Partner of Echelon Insights.
Individuals aged 50 and over, and also including millions of Latinos, are the largest voting bloc in the U.S. in addition to being the country’s most powerful voters because of the influence they are most likely to have in this election cycle in November.
The conversation had a special focus on older Latinas, which have often gone overlooked by political candidates, but should not, considering the huge population and influence they hold.
The poll also looks at how recent trends and numbers suggest that Democrats are losing a grip on the Latino community, a grip that was once strong, but certain political and life factors have changed that narrative.
The survey was done by phone and online between Sept. 6 and Sept. 13, 2022 using landline, cell and text to web data collection. The final survey includes interviews with over 800 women voters aged 50 and over who are planning to vote in 2022.
According to the findings, Democrats currently hold a narrow 47% - 42% lead on the generic Congressional ballot. On the other hand, Democrats do hold a lead which represents an underperformance by Democrats among this group of voters compared to previous elections. It also shows a very large gender gap as Latina women 50 and over favor the Democratic Party by 26-points with Latino men preferring the Republican Party by over 20 points.
Latino Republicans, who make up more than 29% of voters, are unanimously for the generic Republican Party as Latino Democrats (45% of voters) are less consolidated. The quarter of Hispanic voters 50+ who identify as Independent are more for the Republican by 16 points.
The statistics are helpful for all candidates currently in the running at the moment, as they can use it to their advantage and secure more votes ahead of the elections. Candidates for Congress specifically, currently competing for the votes of the Latino community that is 50+ can increase their chances of winning by supporting certain policies, such as allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, protecting Medicare and Social Security from further cuts, and expanding access to home care and long-term care services.
The poll also shows an even split among Latino voters overall in regards to those without a four-year college degree, with the generic Democrat up 18 points with college graduates. Voters who say the economy is their most important issue choose the generic Republican by a 2:1 margin.
The poll also looks at President Joe Biden’s job approval, which is sour with Latino voters 50+ in the key House districts by 11 points. There is also a big gender gap on this specific part of the poll as well with men being the main ones that are not in favor of Biden’s job thus far. Biden’s approval rating is at 75% among Latino Democrats 50+.
In response to a question posed by AL DÍA News about the trends that Latina woman voters are switching allegiances, Celinda Lake said it was a new development.
“One thing we can point to that is definitely out of the ordinary is older women and older voters in general usually make up their minds quite early. And the number of lateness of when these older women in general and then specifically Latinos are making up their minds is very different from before. A key reason why these voters are one of the key swing voters as we go into the election.” she said.
“The second thing that's different, and it started in 2020 but is really strong now is in 2018, Latinos thought they were being well served by the economy, as did all women over 50. Now of course, they think they are and Latinos in particular think they are not being served. Those two trends are dramatically different and with profound possible impact,” Lake added.
One of the many findings from the poll revealed that more than half of women voters 50 and over have not made a final decision in relation to their vote in the congressional election. It also shows them evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans on the generic congressional ballot, with a large number still making up their minds and four in 10 will decide in the last few weeks before the election with three weeks to go until Nov. 8.
The poll also showed what current voters think about some of their congressional representatives as well as the current and previous President. Democrats in Congress and their leaders are less unpopular than their Republican counterparts as former President Trump among Hispanic voters 50+. A large number say the country is headed in the wrong direction, and that members of Congress don’t listen to people like them, and are worried about their personal financial situation. Gas and food are the top concerns in regards to inflation, and some believe the U.S. is already in a recession despite what professionals and leaders have said.
In another question posed by AL DÍA asking if they expect these trends to carry over into the 2024 Presidential election, Bob Ward responded by talking about the competitiveness of the Latino vote.
“This is the competitive nature of the Latino vote. Latino 50-plus vote is a continuing story that we've seen in previous elections where they have moved from a sort of reliable segment of the Democratic constituency to being swing voters. It's the numbers we're seeing now, I think, that accentuate that trend is still happening. Whether it continues to 2024 is yet to be seen. There is going to be a battleground voter group that every campaign should be paying attention to,” Ward said.
The AARP poll also dove into some of the factors influencing women voters 50 and over such as some broad range of issues that showcase the fears of these women concerning economic instability and political discord. The agenda for Republican women 50 and over includes inflation, rising prices, cost of living, crime, immigration, and election security.
In stark comparison to the pressing issues for Democratic women 50-plus are voting rights and threats to democracy — a common trend these days — followed by gun violence and abortion at the bottom. While the top issues for Independent women 50-plus are more health related, such as prescription drugs, abortion, and inflation and rising prices in that order.
The poll also revealed that older women are not impressed with the job done so far by elected officials in relation to “understanding the everyday challenges of people like me,” with three-quarters (75%) saying they have done a fair job (32%) or poor (43%) job.
Other findings include that while women voters 50 and over are pretty much split about how well and efficiently the current state of the economy is working for them personally, many of them are taking steps to deal with the rising cost of living that has been an issue in the last couple years.
This includes that two-thirds reported cutting down on nonessential purchases while four in ten have cut back on essentials or taken money out of savings to help cope with the rising costs in all sectors of living. Also, about a third are less financially secure than they hoped to be at this point in their respective lives.
Also in the findings, the top two picked ‘most’ pressing issues among Latino voters 50+ are the economy and the rise of inflation and the rising prices of all things as a result. This combined, 43% choose one of the economy centered problems with a wide diversity of issue prioritization. Latina women and Democrats also have the economy and inflation high on their list but also have other concerns such as abortion, Social Security/Medicare, and gun control.
Women voters 50 and over are also more unified about economic solutions according to the poll. Three-quarters say that protecting Social Security from cuts would personally help them a lot in the long run. Following that is lowering the costs of food, gas, health care, and further expanding Medicare to cover dental and vision which it currently does not.
Election Day is Nov. 8, and with so many still undecided whether it be Democrats, Independents, and Republicans, the outcome is very difficult to predict as the country prepares for the most highly contested and anticipated election in recent history.