It has long been thought that Democrats will have a better chance at turning Texas “blue” by engaging the Latino community. However, recent polling and anecdotal evidence show that getting Latinos to the polls, and to reliably vote Democratic, might be more of a challenge than people realized.
A recent poll of 1,000 Texas Latinos by Jolt, a Texas organization “that builds the political power and influence of Latinos in our democracy,” found that only 32 percent considered themselves Democrats, according to Texas Public Radio. 13 percent said they were Republicans, but 34 percent said they did not know which party they belonged to.
Even more discouraging, Texas Public Radio says the survey found “50 percent of respondents were cynical about voting, answering that they did not trust politicians, did not think voting made a difference, or did not think ‘people like me have a say.”
A Virginian-Pilot article said “More than 2.1 million eligible Latinos in Texas didn’t vote in 2016.” Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio, said in an NBC News article, “The problem with Texas for Democrats is not that it’s a red state, it’s that it’s a non-voting state. The issue we have is with ourselves — it’s getting more people registered to vote, it’s getting the Hispanic community to turn out and vote.”
The lack of Latino voter engagement would hurt Democrats more than Republicans. For example, a recent Quinnipiac poll found Beto O’Rourke enjoyed a 61-37 percentage advantage over Ted Cruz among Latino voters.