BOSTON, MA (September 1, 2022) — Today, Emerson College Polling releases the fifth installment of its research initiative, “Unlocking the Hispanic Vote,” in Georgia. The project uses a combination of a statewide survey and a series of focus groups to better understand Hispanic attitudes and beliefs towards politics, policy issues, voting, and media. The Georgia study follows statewide studies of Hispanics in Texas, Colorado, Florida, and Nevada. Read in Spanish / Leer es Espanol
Partisanship & Politics: Georgia Hispanics Support For Democrats Softens As Inflation Opens Opportunity for Republicans
In the survey of Georgia Hispanic citizens, respondents were asked if they align more-so with the Democratic or Republican Party on the economy, taxes, abortion, immigration, public saftey and policing, and social spending. The plurality of respondents align with the Democratic Party on these issues. The issues individuals most strongly align with Democrats on include abortion (33%), immigration (32%), and the economy (32%), whereas individuals are more split on the issues of public saftey and policing, in which 28% align with Democrats and 27% align with Republicans, and taxes, in which 26% align with Democrats and 25% align with Republicans.
The Republican Party is most trusted to handle inflation by a plurality of respondents (29%), while 21% trust the Democratic Party. Men are more likely to trust the Republican Party on handling inflation, at 34%, while a plurality of women (28%) trust neither party.
Thirty-eight percent of Hispanics hold a positive view of the Democratic Party, while 25% hold a positive view of the Republican Party. Twenty-four percent hold a negative view of the Democratic Party while 34% hold a negative view of the Republican Party. President Biden and former President Trump are both viewed positively by 33% of Georgia Hispanics, while 41% view Biden negatively and 43% view Trump negatively.
Hispanic voters in focus groups expressed frustration with the Democratic Party for unfulfilled promises, specifically on immigration, and worse economic conditions, whereas the Republican Party is characterized by several individuals as out of touch with modern society, however effective at getting things done.
A 50-year-old Puerto Rican Republican woman living in the Atlanta suburbs said “broken promises” come to mind when she thinks of the Democratic Party. She elaborated, “Pure promises they make don’t deliver anything, giving people entitlements.” As for the Republican Party, “better economy, more opportunities, and more money for the family” comes to mind. A Republican woman who voted for Biden in 2020 says, “I have been disappointed because I don’t feel that [Democrats] have done anything for their own people, for their country. The Republican Party is conservative, but they stick to what they believe in.”
“I think both parties are corrupt, they collude…whoever has the influence colludes to achieve their purposes,” a 58-year-old Peruvian female voter said. The Republican who voted for Biden said, “it seems to me that he is not doing anything for his country…why is he spending and sending billions to Ukraine while your country is suffering?” She continued, “if Trump comes back, I’m going to vote for Trump.” Her group member, a male 68-year-old registered Colombian Democrat who did not vote in 2020, contested, “if Trump were to run again, I would not vote for Trump. This gentleman does not have sufficient intellectual capacity or knowledge to manage a country like this one.”
Economy is the Top Issue for Georgia Hispanics; Express Concern Over Government Intervention in Abortions in Focus Groups
A plurality of Hispanics in Georgia (39%) say the economy is the most pressing issue facing their community, followed by social justice issues (13%), crime (6%), and housing (5%).
Across focus groups of Hispanics in Georgia, the high cost of gas, housing, and everyday items were among the most discussed topics. Though the average price of gas is now $3.40/gallon in Georgia, down from $3.87/gallon a month ago, participants say it’s still higher than a year ago, blaming corporations and the government for the overall higher cost of goods. A 37-year-old Venezuelan registered Democrat man said, “[gas prices] were at like $4.50 a gallon, or something. Now it’s like $3.50 a gallon which is great, but it’s like, you can’t say it’s lower gas prices. You’re bringing them back to where they were.”
While housing was the top issue facing the community for only 5% of voters, focus group participants associated rent and housing costs with economic issues. A 41-year-old Mexican Democratic woman said, “You have so little housing and everybody is trying to come in. Then, obviously, they’re gonna increase the rents and obviously the properties.” She continued, expressing worry over her retired parents, “the property values going up to where they won’t be able to pay the taxes, because they’re both on a fixed income.”
Focus group participants think the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade will have a negative effect on women’s health. Participants stressed that abortions should be legal in case of rape and medical circumstances endangering the fetus or mother, even if they personally are against abortoin.
“I’m not saying it’s right to do it, but there are circumstances in which it must be done.” A Republican surgical technician said. “We don’t wanna revert back to our ways of having to find an abortion, if need be, through difficult ways,” a non-registered 24-year-old woman said.
A mother of two in suburban Atlanta said, “I’m Christian, and to be honest, you know, God, Jesus, even, they all gave us a choice, it’s the free will, you can make a choice. So if that’s the case, then why would human beings be able to make choices for us? The government shouldn’t be able to dictate, that should be our choice whether you do it or not.”
Georgia Hispanic Voters Feel Duty As Citizen to Vote; Cite Voter Suppression in Focus Groups
The survey of Georgia Hispanic citizens found voters’ most common motivator to get to the polls is because they have a “duty as a citizen” to vote at 28%, followed by caring about the issues at 19%, and voting for their party’s candidate at 16%.
Duty as a citizen was the top consideration for Hispanics who voted for Donald Trump and Joe Biden in 2020, however other main reasons to vote varied. Among Hispanics who voted for Trump, 25% say they voted to “vote for [the] party’s candidate” whereas 24% of those who voted for Biden engaged because they “care about the issues” and 21% said they voted because they “disliked one of the candidates.”
In focus groups, individuals describe an environment of voter suppression and disenfranchisement of Georgia voters of color. Examples include polls closing, polling places moving, and long lines in areas populated predominantly by people of color. “You go to the predominantly Black areas, there’s two machines. And the line is three, four hours long. I have gone to those voting sites and I have handed out water, snacks. I’m like, ‘Stay in line.’ I know this is unfair but voting for the correct person I hope would change that,” a 29-year-old Democratic woman said.
For voters originating from Cuba, almost half (48%) vote because of their sense of duty. Those originating from Mexico cite a number of reasons, including duty as a citizen (25%), voting for a party’s candidate (19%), or caring about the issues (15%). Those from Puerto Rico cite caring about the issues as their top motivator, at 34%.
While 35% of non-registered Hispanic citizens say nothing could get them to register to vote, 28% say they would register if they were better informed, 21% could be motivated by different or better candidates, while 11% said they would vote if they had time. “It’s a mess. Sorry, I just want to be more informed. I don’t want to just go out there and vote, you know? I want to be more informed about their laws, their policies, you know?,” a 24-year-old Mexican woman said.
Similar to the share of those who say nothing would get them to register, 35% of non-registered Hispanic citizens say they are not registered to vote because there is “no difference between Democrats and Republicans,” while 39% agree they are not registered because their “vote won’t change anything.” Those non-registered over 35 are most likely to agree there is no difference between the two major parties. Respondents born outside the United States and women are more likely to say they are not registered because their “vote won’t change anything.”
The relationship between money and politics was cited as discouraging civic participation in the non-registered focus group. A non-registered 24-year-old male said, “when you constantly have lobbyists up in DC dictate the policy, the domestic policy, of the American citizens, you know, they have a tendency to push things toward to be more profitable to them because they are constantly feeding them.” He continued, “if [Latinos] are not able to pay politicians like everybody else, you know they won’t appreciate your role, but they will accept the check. And the check is what counts, really.”
Social Media Growing Force In News Consumption
To consume political information, 36% of Georgia Hispanics watch cable or network news whereas 34% utilize social media. A plurality of Georgia Hispanics under 35 rely on social media for news, whereas those over 35 are more likely to rely on cable or network news. Voters that identify as Independent are more likely to rely on social media for news, and their most popular platform is YouTube. Overall, Facebook is the most popular social platform for news at 27%, followed by YouTube at 22%, TikTok at 10%, Instagram at 9%, and Twitter at 8%. Tiktok is the most popular platform for those aged between 18 and 24 at 43%, while pluralities of Hisapnics over 25 use Facebook as their top social media source for news. One voter said, “I use Instagram a lot. I don’t like Twitter, I find it very sectorized.”
Women are almost three times as likely to cite TikTok as their primary social media news source than men, while men are more likely to use YouTube than women.
In focus groups, several participants shared that they limit the amount of news they consume because it is too negative. A 50-year-old Democratic woman said, “I do watch the local news here every morning just to see. And that’s just even depressing because of all the crime and all the shootings.” Focus group participants either limit the time spent watching or only search on the internet for stories that interest them. A 38-year-old Cuban Independent voter said, “I don’t primarily watch the news. I just feel like they’re too scripted for me. And it’s not raw and uncut. So personally, for me, I follow social media sites that do the research and expose what’s really happening in the government.”
Data was collected from August 1-8, 2022 using a mixed-mode methodology of Interactive Voice Response (IVR), SMS-to web, email, and online panels. Respondents were given the choice to take the survey in either Spanish or English. The overall sample consisted of Hispanic citizens in Georgia, n=774, with a Credibility Interval (CI), similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The registered voter sample consisted of registered voters in Georgia, n=379, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 5 percentage points. The non-registered citizen sample consisted of non-registered citizens in Georgia, n=395, +/- 4.9 percentage points. Data sets were weighted by region, gender, age, voter registration, and education.
Focus Group Methodology
Three focus groups of participants of Hispanic ethnicity were conducted in Atlanta Georgia in August 2022: one of Hispanic registered voters who vote (conducted in English), a second of Hispanic non-registered citizens (conducted in English), and a third of Hispanic registered voters who vote (conducted in Spanish). Recruitment was done by a recruiting service company, Athena Research using a participant screener. Participants were given a $125 incentive to take part in the focus groups. The study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Emerson College.
Note: Certain quotes from the focus groups have been edited for brevity and clarity