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1 in 5 Latino voters are considering a third-party candidate for president, poll indicates

An illustration with photos of Joe Biden, Donald Trump and a black-and-white American flag on a colorful abstract graphic
(Photo illustration by Diana Ramirez / De Los; photographs by Pablo Martinez Monsivais and Mark Humphrey/ Associated Press)
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It’s officially 2024, which means it’s an election year, a time when we as a nation put our similarities aside to focus on our differences.

Jan. 12, 2024

More Latinos are considering voting for a third-party candidate in the upcoming presidential election, a new poll by Voto Latino finds.

According to the survey, a fifth of Latino voters are considering voting for a candidate other than President Biden or former President Trump. The poll, conducted by Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, surveyed 2,000 Latino voters registered in swing states such as Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

When choosing between the two leading candidates, 59% picked Biden, a Democrat, and 39% selected Trump, a Republican. But when candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Cornel West and Jill Stein were included in the question, the support for Biden saw a larger decline.

While Trump’s support dropped by 5 points, to 34%, Biden’s previous 59% dropped to 47%.

The civic engagement organization’s poll indicates that Latino voters aren’t turning away from the Democratic Party and moving toward the Republican Party, but rather that more of them are open to the idea of electing a third-party candidate.

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President Biden and the Democratic Party retain significant advantages among this fast-growing electorate. Its supposed exodus from the party is an exaggeration.

Dec. 28, 2023

In presidential elections, the Latino vote has typically gone to the Democratic candidate. In 2020, President Biden received a majority with 59% of Latinos’ votes; in 2016, Hillary Clinton received 66%; and in 2012, Barack Obama received 71% of the Latino vote.

Of this year’s candidates from other parties, Kennedy, an independent, had the biggest share of likely Latino voters, with 12% of respondents saying they’d consider voting for him. The remainder of voters were split among West, a progressive independent, (3%); Green Party nominee Stein (2%); and “undecided” (1%).

“The challenge is that Latinos have a percentage leaning towards Kennedy, but they don’t know this Kennedy. They know the brand of Kennedy. They think that his family brings social justice and believes in equity,” said Diana Castaneda, vice president of communications at Voto Latino.

Of the Latino voters between the ages of 18 and 49 who told the poll they were considering a third-party candidate, 62% were women.

“That just speaks to not only the opportunity that both Biden and Harris have to talk about the issues that are bread and butter to the Latino community they care about,” María Teresa Kumar, co-founder and president of Voto Latino, said during a recent interview with MSNBC. “But also demonstrates the real frustration that the economy, while for many people is doing well, for folks at the bottom it is not.”

GOP political consultant Mike Madrid sees this interest in third-party candidates as an “emergence.”

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“It’s getting more pronounced every year. A lot of it is simply a function of being antiestablishment,” he said. “They are anti-party and have a loss of faith and trust in both parties. They don’t see the parties representing their interest or solving their problem.”

According to Madrid, Latinos have “both a weaker partisan anchor and the strongest disaffiliation of the two parties,” which add to the belief among them that parties are not serving anybody’s interest but their own.

According to the poll, the top categories of issues for Latinos are inflation and the cost of living (52%), the economy and jobs (28%) and abortion rights (27%).

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