Poll indicates economy, inflation, and health care as primary concerns for Latino voters in Pa.


Key Issues for Pennsylvania Latino Voters Revealed

Despite the focus in Congress on border security and immigration, a survey of Latino voters in Pennsylvania found that they are more concerned about issues like cost of living, health care, and crime.

Poll Conducted by UnidosUS and Mi Familia Vota

Leading Latino civil rights and advocacy organization UnidosUS, collaborated with Mi Familia Vota, a national civic engagement organization, to survey 3,037 eligible Latino voters in eight battleground states. In Pennsylvania specifically, they surveyed 300 eligible Latino voters. The poll was conducted by BSP Research from Nov 2-13.

Jobs, Economy and Inflation: Top Concerns for Latino Voters

As part of the survey, participants were asked to rank the issues of greatest importance from a list of 17. Jobs and the economy led the way, with 49% of respondents ranking it as their top concern. Close behind was the rising cost of living (48%), health care (37%), crime/gun violence (31%), and lack of affordable housing/high rents (25%). Immigration and the border came in seventh among the issues of importance for Latino voters in Pennsylvania.

Latino Issues are everyday American Issues

Quoting Rafael Collazo, political director of UnidosUS, during a briefing of the polling data, he clarified that “Latinos are being pretty clear in their policy priorities, much of which can be summed up around their concerns around cost of living.”

Moreover, State Rep. Manuel Guzman (D-Berks), Vice Chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus, emphasized in an interview with the Capital-Star that the polling demonstrates that “Latino issues are everyday American issues.”

The Political Preferences of Pennsylvania’s Latino Voters

Results showed a disparity in political leanings between younger and older Latino voters. The younger demographic was less likely to believe a Democrat would be better at addressing their top issue. However, on immigration issues, more than half of the respondents agreed that providing a pathway to citizenship for long-time U.S.-residing undocumented immigrants and those brought to the US as children were the most critical immigration issues.

Interestingly, only 23% felt that elected officials should prioritize increasing border security, while 16% supported finishing the wall along the US-Mexico border as their top immigration concern.

Young Latino Voters and Their Political Affiliations

The survey also pointed out that younger Latino voters in Pennsylvania – those under 40 – are less likely to believe the Democratic Party cares about them. Guzman believes this sentiment is not unique to young Latino voters but rather, a general dissatisfaction among young voters with elected officials.

However, Guzman called attention to the lack of representation among elected officials, which he believes is contributing to younger Latinos’ dissatisfaction with the government.

The Importance of Engaging Latino Voters

Chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus and the first Dominican elected to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, State Rep. Danilo Burgos (D-Philadelphia), stressed the importance of dialogue with Latino voters rather than simply talking at them.

He reminded that “Politics in Latin America is very hands-on… it’s not just people talking on TV, or in political shows, and giving their opinions. It’s actually going out into communities saying hello to people, motivating grassroots, motivating communities from the bottom up, and not from the top down.”

Republican Party’s Standing among Pennsylvania’s Latinos

The survey found that just 20% of Latino voters in Pennsylvania believe that the Republican Party cares a great deal about the Latino community.

Approval Ratings of President Joe Biden

Among those surveyed, President Joe Biden has a 55% approval rating. However, there is a notable gap between younger and older voters; with those 40 and older giving a 67% approval rate, this figure drops to 43% for those under 40.

2024 Presidential Election and Pennsylvania’s Latino Voters

If the 2024 election for President were held today, 58% of Pennsylvania Latino voters are leaning towards voting for President Joe Biden, while 26% are leaning towards supporting former President Donald Trump, and 16% don’t know.

In reference to the upcoming elections, Gary Segura, founding partner and president of BSP Research, emphasized that “A lot of ground has to happen between now and then… but it looks to me as if Biden’s position in Pennsylvania is as strong as it is anywhere if not stronger than most places.”

Results of 2022 Statewide Office Elections Among Latinos

In 2022, Pennsylvania Latino voters largely backed the Democratic candidates for statewide office by similar margins, with Josh Shapiro taking 72% of the Latino vote for governor, and John Fetterman winning 68% of the Latino vote for U.S. Senate.

Young Latino Voters in the Upcoming Elections

Young Latino voters are slated to play an important role in next year’s election in the Keystone State, with 21% of Latinos in Pennsylvania voting in their first presidential election in 2024.

Latino Electorate in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has a higher number of Puerto Ricans among its Latino electorate, a group that historically leans more Democratic. According to UnidosUS Hispanic Electorate Data Hub, there are 275,000 registered Latino voters in Pennsylvania.

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