A new poll from the University of Houston and Univision found that 90% of Texas Latino voters will or will probably vote in the 2020 presidential election.
These voters also perceive this upcoming election as highly consequential: 79% said it was more important to vote in 2020 than in the 2016 presidential election.
A total 66% of Texas Latinos either are leaning towards or plan on voting for the Biden/Harris ticket, compared to 25% who support Trump/Pence, indicating that Texas currently has more left-leaning Latino voters than Florida, and is on par with Arizona.
Latino voters were more split when it came to the U.S. Senate race: 47% support Democrat MJ Hegar compared to 30% who support Republican incumbent Sen. John Cornyn.
The top issue for Texas Latino voters was the response to COVID-19 — 44% said it was among the most important topics for the next president to address. Thirty-one percent said lowering the cost of healthcare was a top issue.
Polling also identified that 31% of Texas Latinos approve of President Donald Trump — the same percentage of people who approve of his handling of the economy.
It found that 73% disapprove of the president’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic, while far fewer, 52%, disapprove of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s role in dealing with the crisis.
Democrats overall performed better in terms of outreach to Texas Latino voters, while the poll showed 40% of these voters thought Trump and Republicans were actively hostile towards them.
Historical challenges engaging Latino voters
Though 90% of polled Latino voters said they are likely to vote, a recent survey identified some reasons why Latinos historically vote at lower rates than other groups.
The qualitative survey, published by the progressive Texas Organizing Project, found that many Latinos are engaged in politics — but they often don’t vote, or are unsure their vote matters. They also don't feel like government officials care about them.
Researcher Cecilia Ballí said the survey debunked the myth that Latinos don't vote because they are apathetic.
“We actually found that all of the non-voters were following political news and following politics but they had a harder time articulating what the parties stood for and how government directly impacted their lives,” Ballí said.
The study also found many of these non-voters don't have strong partisan affiliations, which can drive down voter turnout.