Election Day is one week away and a Washington Post/ABC News poll indicated Republicans maintain an edge among likely voters and could potentially capture the Latino vote. Half of all Hispanic citizens polled said it doesn’t matter who wins the Senate come Nov. 4, and among those who do think it matters, 30 percent said a GOP-controlled Senate would be a good thing while only 15 percent said it would be a bad thing, the poll indicated.
Although the poll has a fairly large margin of error at 10 percentage points, the results are still noteworthy in comparison to the Latino voting record historically. Just two years ago, President Barack Obama won 71 percent of the Latino vote and may have provided important margins in swing states. Traditionally, core Democratic principles, like the support for big government, has bonded Latino voters to the Democratic Party because many Hispanics use government funded programs, like welfare. The Post/ABC poll indicated Hispanics trust Democrats over Republicans 44 percent to 27 percent to do a better job in the next few years in coping with the main problems facing the nation.
But the poll also found 76 percent of Latinos have a negative view on the state of the nation’s economy and Hispanic voters are now holding views more in line with political independents than Democrats, which could make the Latino vote less predictable than it has been in past elections. Voter turnout among Hispanic citizens is consistently lower than white non-Hispanic or black citizens, according to a poll last month. But only a handful of states have a big enough Latino population to sway the outcome, which is why Obama has held off on reforming immigration policies, fearing executive action could hurt Democrats’ chances in November’s elections.
Although a New York Times study published earlier this month found Republicans could keep control of the U.S House and take the Senate majority even if they lost every single Latino vote, the analysis concluded Republicans must perform strongly with Hispanic voters in swing states like Florida and Nevada to reclaim the White House in 2016. Republican Mitt Romney lost the White House in 2012 in part because he received the lowest portion of the Hispanic vote for a Republican in 16 years.
The results of the Post/ABC poll stemmed from a sub-sample of the 1,024 American adults queried Thursday through Sunday. The overall poll had a margin of error of 3.5 points.