"The clock is ticking": Democrats defend Latino voters, while Republicans chase them.

Both parties will continue to place a strong emphasis on Latino voters in the months ahead, as Republicans plan to spend millions more to reach them.

"The clock is ticking": Democrats defend Latino voters, while Republicans chase them.

According to data released by the House campaign arms, Hispanic voters are more open for GOP attacks on Democrats and are moving more towards Republicans on major issues in this election cycle's midterm elections.

A new poll memo distributed Thursday by the National Republican Campaign Committee shows that Latinos regard congressional Republicans more trustworthy than Democrats when it comes to crime, immigration, and the economy.

These numbers are consistent in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s own research that was presented Tuesday to Democratic officials.

Another advantage for Republicans is that Latino voters are more open to being attacked by Democrats about the issues than non-Hispanic whites, blacks or Asian and Pacific Islanders , according to the DCCC research. This was based on polling and focus groups.

Republicans and Democrats don't expect that the majority of Hispanic voters will vote GOP in November. However, Latino voters have shown enough electoral independence -- while also voting more similarly to working-class whites on cultural issues -- to be increasingly considered indicators of how elections could swing.

"There is still time for Republicans and Democrats to exploit this more," said Carlos Odio (Democratic strategist), co-founder of EquisLabs which studies Hispanic voter trends, communities, and policies.

Both parties will continue to focus their attention on Hispanic voters in the months ahead. Republicans plan to spend millions more to reach Hispanic voters, fueled by Trump's unexpected gains with Latinos in 2020. Democrats admit that Trump's surprise visit two years ago was a surprise and they have pledged to not be surprised again.

This is why the DCCC launched its research into GOP attacks to blunt them and why it created a Spanish language website in order to counter Spanish disinformation online.

Odio, blaming Democrats, said that "As someone who primarily advocates the well-being Latino communities," he was annoyed that many people feel ignored, that their struggles are not being heard, and that they don't feel that they are being heard. "As someone who would prefer that Democrats win, we should have this conversation now because it would be a mistake for either side to assume that this is a static situation. This is going to be an open-ended contest to win the votes that are up for grabs.

The NRCC recently surveyed 1,000 Hispanic voters in 47 battleground House district nationwide and found that 7 percentage points more Latinos thought Republicans would do a better job of managing the economy than Democrats. Also, 7 percent of Hispanic voters thought the GOP was better equipped to manage rising costs, jobs, and economic growth -- another 7 percentage points. Eight percent of respondents also believed that crime control was a stronger strength for the GOP.

The biggest advantage of the survey for Republicans is their 13-point advantage in handling border security.

These numbers are not surprising to Odio and other Latino voter experts as well as Democratic representatives such as Henry Cuellar from Texas who believe that the NRCC data generally jibes with what Democrats find in their polling or their observations of Latino constituents.

Cuellar, whose South Texas District was included in the NRCC poll, stated that "my district is 80 percent Hispanic" and that people are worried about the border. "They see that the border is open in many different ways, even though they say 'No.' They want legal migration. They want people to be treated with dignity and respect, but not open borders or people crossing the line. "The messaging from Republicans resonates."

Cuellar is one of the most conservative House Democratic members. He will face a March 1 primary opponent Jessica Cisneros who seeks a rematch with Cuellar in 2020. NBC News reported that Cuellar's house and campaign office were raided by the FBI as part of a federal investigation into Azerbaijan. The FBI also questioned a group U.S. businessmen with ties to Azerbaijan. Cuellar denied any wrongdoing.

The power of Republican messaging goes beyond Hispanic voters and into the general electorate. The DCCC's research shows that voters believe Democrats are too "preachy", and that GOP attacks against crime, immigration and schools could make a difference.

Focus group research and the DCCC polling were first reported by Polio. Independently obtained by NBC News, NBC News suggested that Democrats counter Republican attacks by saying that they are not for "defunding police officers" or opposing "open borders."

According to the DCCC research, Democrats' position was marginally better after they gave their rebuttals. It went from 4 points down to Republicans, to 2 points with all voters. Hispanic voters were the exceptions. Hispanics were the most at risk of losing support to Democrats, outperforming all other races and ethnicities. Their support dropped by 7 percentage points from 21 to 14 percent after being exposed to negative Republican messaging.

Cuellar stated, "On the culture war the Republicans have just been more adept at messaging."

Tim Persico is the DCCC's executive director. He said that the party learned from 2020 when it didn't respond to the right's wild attacks. He stated that this won't happen again in 2019.

He said, "For many of us we made a mistake in saying it's too obviously false that it's not going to affect our attention." It turns out that if someone tells you something, no matter how untrue or false, and you don’t respond with force, it’s going to hurt.

Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) said that Democrats don't account for the fact they are culturally out of sync with many Hispanic voters.

Gimenez said that the Democrat Party's values don't align with Hispanic voters. Gimenez was surveyed in Miami by the NRCC. "We are not anti-police. We believe in the rule and fairness of law. We are people of faith. We're patriotic. This is something that the Democratic Party doesn't value.

Former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell, Gimenez's 2020 opponent said Republicans lost their right to claim themselves pro-law enforcement after a mob led by Trump supporters rioted at the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the count of electoral votes in President Joe Biden’s win in 2020, overwhelming and attacking officers in the process . (Gimenez responded by saying that Democrats failed to do enough to condemn looters in the 2020 uprisings following the murder of George Floyd, Minnesota.

Mucarsel Powell acknowledged, however, that Republicans had the opportunity to paint the whole party as radical leftists due to the presence of self-described Democratic socialists such as Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York. She said that she believes Republicans are winning with Hispanic voters and that she blames Spanish-language disinformation for this.

She said, "People are being exposed to lies." People are still working. They aren't subscribing for the newspaper. They aren't watching local television. They get their news via their smartphones. There are many lies.

Yvonne Gutierrez is the managing director for Latino Victory, a Democratic-aligned group. She said that while she believed Republican gains weren't too alarming, she did admit to having reservations about the "disinformation campaign" the GOP has been running very consistently and significantly... that has had an effect.

However, Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar of Miami, a Republican, rebutted immediately to this position. Her district had also been surveyed by NRCC.

Salazar stated that Democrats are saying we're fools. It's the economy that is stupid. Do you recall that phrase? We're Americans, too. We're not socialists. But, unfortunately, what we hear from a section of the Democratic Party is that people are trying to scare us."


 

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