- The Washington Times - Monday, May 2, 2022

A recent Marist Poll showing a Republican advantage in the upcoming election has some additional good news for the GOP — big gains among Hispanic and other non-White voters.

The survey, taken in late April, reflects a national trend signaling Hispanic and non-White voters are increasingly disenchanted with the Biden administration and with Democrats who run Congress. In rising numbers, they plan to pick GOP candidates in November, when every House seat and 34 Senate seats are up for grabs.

A Wall Street Journal poll in March found Hispanic voters picked a Republican candidate over a Democrat by 9 percentage points on the generic congressional ballot. 

The survey found that support for Democrats among Black voters had shrunk dramatically, from 56% in November 2021 to 35% in March. Black voters increased their support for GOP candidates, the poll found, from 12% to 27% from November to March.

Republican strategists are optimistic, but say the upcoming election will truly test whether the trend spotted in polls will provide real gains to the party, which has traditionally lagged behind Democrats when it comes to Hispanic and non-White voters.

“We’ve seen a surge in polling showing Hispanics are moving to the GOP, but have yet to see any real evidence in recent special elections and off-year elections,” said Republican strategist Ryan Girdusky.

The Marist poll of registered voters showed that 47% planned to vote for a GOP candidate, compared with 44% who said they would more likely choose a Democrat. Independent voters picked Republicans over Democrats 45% to 38%.

Among Hispanics, whose vote has become increasingly critical in swing areas of the country, 52% said they would pick a Republican if the election were held immediately, compared with 39% who planned to vote for a Democrat.

Half of non-White voters said they would pick a Democrat, but 41% said they would choose a Republican candidate.

The big gains for the GOP suggest that while President Biden will not be on the ballot, he’s poised to cast a long shadow over the results.

Voters are increasingly concerned about inflation, high gas prices, crime and other economic woes that have persisted or worsened under the Biden administration.

Among Hispanic voters polled by Marist, 60% disapproved of Mr. Biden’s handling of the economy, while 33% said they approved of his job performance. Non-White voters disapproved by a margin of 50% to 43%.

Giancarlo Sopo, a Cuban American Republican strategist, said the Marist poll shows Hispanic voters are unhappy about the economy and other issues, including rising crime.  

“The data strongly suggest Biden’s Hispanic woes stem from concerns over the economy and public safety,” Mr. Sopo tweeted. “Hispanics disapprove of economic handling by 27 points. This makes sense. The median Hispanic household income is $55k. Inflation is bad for everyone and brutal for Latinos.”

Mr. Girdusky said Senate and House races in Nevada, Texas, Arizona, and in California’s Central Valley, where Hispanics make up a substantial part of the electorate, “will tell us how substantial the movement is.”

According to the nonpartisan, nonprofit National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, 1 in every 10 voters in 2022 is expected to be Latino, an increase of more than 34% since 2014.

In Arizona, where Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly is defending a seat that could determine whether the party maintains the Senate majority, Hispanics are expected to make up nearly a quarter of all voters.

Mr. Biden won the state by fewer than 10,000 votes in 2020, and Arizona voters have since then soured on the administration.

An OH Predictive Insights poll taken in late March found 55% of Arizona voters were unhappy with Mr. Biden’s job performance. Among the respondents, 22% were Hispanics.

The wavering Hispanic vote will be critical in Nevada’s Senate race, where Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is battling Republican challenger Adam Laxalt.

More than 16% of the 2022 electorate in Nevada is expected to be made up of Hispanic voters. They helped Mr. Biden narrowly win the state in 2020, but polling in late March found Hispanic voters in Nevada now favor Mr. Trump by 19%. 

The Blueprint Polling survey found Ms. Cortez Masto and Mr. Laxalt tied among Hispanic voters.

Democrats told The Washington Times they plan to educate Hispanic voters on the difference between the two political parties on taxes, health care and other issues.

“While Democrats lower costs and invest in communities, Republicans plot to hike taxes on working families and attack affordable health care, all while emboldening the extremists and White supremacists in their rank,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Hallen Kalla.

Mr. Sopo told The Washington Times that Democrats need to focus on issues that are most critical to Hispanic voters and not “political correctness and making minorities feel like victims in America,” which he said, “is just not how most Hispanics view ourselves or this country.”

• Susan Ferrechio can be reached at sferrechio@washingtontimes.com.

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