Republicans Missed the Mark in the 2022 Midterm Elections, but Can Make a Comeback in 2024
Democrats’ Success with Swing Latino Voters in 2022
In 2022, Democrats achieved significant success in winning over swing Latino voters. According to an Equis 2022 voter survey conducted in 12 battleground states, Democrats secured the support of 68% of swing Latino voters, while Republicans only managed to garner 24%. This outcome was largely attributed to the perceived extremism within the GOP.
Latino Voters’ Potential Shift towards the GOP in 2024
However, polling indicates that Latino voters may be more open to voting for a GOP nominee over President Joe Biden in the upcoming 2024 election. Additionally, when drop-off voters (those who voted in 2018 and 2020 but not in 2022) are taken into account, Republicans are projected to have a 13-point advantage in 2024.
An analysis by Equis revealed that among those who voted in 2020, 54% would choose a “generic Republican” candidate, while only 34% would support Biden in the next cycle.
The Challenge for Republicans in 2024
The Cook Political Report suggests that the odds of Republicans electing a “generic” Republican in 2024 are slim, as former President Donald Trump remains the front-runner in recent polling. It is highly likely that Biden and Trump will face each other in the general election.
In 2020, Biden defeated Trump in 11 battleground states, including Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin, with a 15-point lead, according to Equis data. However, in 2022, Democratic candidates only managed to win Latino voters in these states by a 13-point margin. A post-midterm survey conducted in December showed Biden with just an 8-point lead over Trump among Latino voters.
Considering the narrow margins in states like Arizona and Nevada in 2020, as well as in multiple races in 2022, a mere 7-point shift in favor of the GOP among Latinos in 2024 could potentially flip both states to the Republican side.
The Importance of Strategic Candidate Selection
However, the GOP will need to be strategic in selecting candidates for both state and presidential races. Many attribute the Republicans’ lackluster performance in 2022 to far-right candidates supported by Trump, which alienated swing voters and resulted in victories for Democrats.
According to Equis co-founder Carlos Odio, the analysis found that Latino voters who trusted Republicans to address issues like inflation still believed that Democrats were more reliable in looking out for their interests, while perceiving Republicans as extreme.
With the exception of Florida, Republicans underperformed with Hispanic voters in most battleground states in 2022. In Florida, Latino voters played a crucial role in Governor Ron DeSantis’ re-election, with 59% of the overall vote and 58% of the Latino vote specifically. This marked a significant increase from 2018 when DeSantis won with only 44% of the Latino vote. Notably, his victory in Miami-Dade County, a predominantly Hispanic community, was the first for the GOP since 2002.
To win over more Latino voters, especially swing voters and those who do not typically vote, GOP candidates will need to surpass Democrats in outreach and press campaigns. Democrats tend to engage with non-voters towards the end of an election cycle, while Republicans could start making inroads with these voters early on.
In Nevada in 2022, Republican Adam Laxalt gained recognition through Spanish-language ad campaigns funded by the GOP, as revealed by Equis research. However, Democrats began investing in Spanish-language TV campaigns for Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) as early as March 2022, while Laxalt and his allies did not start until late summer.
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