BOSTON, MA (August 11, 2022) — Today, Emerson College Polling releases the fourth installment of its research initiative, “Unlocking the Hispanic Vote,” in Nevada. The project uses a combination of a survey and a series of focus groups to better understand Hispanic attitudes and beliefs towards politics, policy issues, voting, and media. The Nevada study follows statewide studies of Hispanics in Texas, Colorado, and Florida.
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The Economy, Inflation, and Jobs Are Most Pressing Concern For Nevada Hispanics, Followed by Housing
Economic issues are the most important issue to 37% of Hispanics in Nevada, followed by housing (15%) and social justice issues (6%). The issue of the economy is higher among Hispanic voters, at 48%; whereas non-registered citizens are more split between the economy (25%) and housing (20%).
Nevada Hispanics were asked who they trust more to handle inflation, and a plurality (32%) said neither party. “Wages are not going up, but everything else is,” a 51-year old female voter who does not identify with either party, said in focus groups.
Notably, a plurality of Hispanics (34%) aged between 45 and 54 are most concerned about housing in their community. Across focus groups, the economy is not limited in its understanding to pocketbook issues, rather it is understood to encompass other issues, like housing and abortion.
A 52-year old Democratic man said, “landlords can just insanely raise rents to what people can’t afford. And nobody is doing anything about it.” A non-registered 43-year old single-mother echoed his frustration, and described her experience trying to collect a downpayment for a home: “I finally got enough money for a good down payment, so I thought. Even enough to maybe get a mobile home, but all of a sudden the prices go up on everything and now it’s not even enough for anything.”
A 22-year-old non-registered Mexican woman tied abortion to the economy: “A lot of people can’t or don’t have the money to raise kids. They don’t have everything that it takes to raise kids…and, yet, the government wants to force them to have these kids, when in reality, they know they can’t have ’em, and that’s why they go get abortions.”
Overall, 34% of Nevada Hispanics align with the Democratic Party’s view on abortion, while 17% align with the Republicans. Hispanic voters more strongly align with Democrats and Republicans, 44% to 27%, while more non-registered citizens align with neither party at 48%.
On the issue of abortion, a 53-year-old Puerto Rican woman said, “I’m Catholic, the church doesn’t believe in abortion, but I believe that everybody has the right to choose.” She continued, “I just think it’s a medical procedure. That’s kind of like taking away the right to have the defibrillator or a pacemaker or something like that, you know?”
Under 1 in 3 Hispanics View Biden Positively & Under 1 in 4 View Trump Positively
Thirty percent of Nevada Hispanics view President Biden positively, while 34% view him negatively. A plurality of Nevada Hispanics (36%) report neutrality towards the President. Hispanic voters’ sentiment toward the President is more intense: 38% view Biden positively and 45% negatively. A plurality of non-registered citizens (57%) are neutral toward President Biden. Nearly half (49%) of those over 55 have a positive view of the president, whereas just 18% of those between 18 and 24 have a positive view, and 60% are neutral.
Regarding President Trump, 23% of Nevada Hispanics view him positively and 47% negatively. Thirty percent of Nevada Hispanics are neutral towards the former President. Among voters, 36% view Trump positively and 50% negatively. Among non-registered citizens, 48% are neutral and 44% view him negatively.
In focus groups, there is consensus that the economy is worse under Biden’s leadership compared to Trump’s. One spanish-speaking 30-year-old registered voter, who is registered as Democrat but aligns now with Republicans, said that because Trump is a businessman, “[Trump] is great for the economy of the United States.” A 48-year-old Democratic woman contended, “I don’t think he is smart for business because he went bankrupt seven times.”
The Democratic Party is viewed with neutrality for 42% of Nevada Hispanics, whereas 39% are positive and 20% negative. Among Hispanics voters, 48% are positive towards the Democratic Party and 29% negative. A plurality of Nevada Hispanics (49%) also view the Republican Party with neutrality, while 20% are positive towards it, and 30% negative. Among voters, 31% are positive and 45% negative.
A registered 59-year-old Independent voter talked about the Democratic Party: “I think the Democratic Party has taken the Latino population for granted for many years.” He questioned, “What have they really done for the Latino population?”
Another member, a 22-year-old non-registered woman, continued, “they tell us what we wanna hear, like, ‘Oh, we’re gonna get your parents’ papers… your parents are gonna be able to get their taxes, pay taxes.’ Like, our parents pay taxes, so they should be getting money back, you know.”
Social Media is Top News Source for Gen Z; Hispanics View Censored Media as More Truthful in Focus Groups
A majority of Nevada Hispanic voters (51%) rely on cable or network news for political information, whereas non-registered citizens are more split; 35% rely on cable or network news and 32% social media.
Facebook was the most popular social media platform used for news at 26%, followed by Youtube at 19%, Tik Tok and Instagram both at 10%, Twitter at 4%, Snapchat at 2%, and Reddit at 1%. TikTok was the most popular social platform for news for those 18-24 at 39%.
One non-registered voter said she turns to Facebook for news because, “If something happens in Vegas, there will be a lot of shares [on Facebook] if something happens with the government, a change, or gas prices.”
Across focus groups, a sentiment of distrust in media exists; several expressed the news media as having an agenda and there was discussion about corporations owning media outlets and pushing personal agendas on them.
One 59-year-old Independent male said he has turned to Breitbart as where he gets his news because he “like[s] that they’re very objective. They give you no spin.”
A viewpoint exists with members across focus groups that if a video is censored on platforms like YouTube, it is more truthful. “They’re not following the agenda these big corporations have. Like if someone says coronavirus is manmade, or something other than what regular media says on TV,” 28-year-old male non-registered voter said. A 37-year-old male voter said he watches YouTube videos for news since “they do things you don’t see on the news.” He continued, “Like here in Vegas, there’s a lot of protests, a lot were video recorded or discussed on different forums and YouTubes that you don’t see on local news, and a lot of them are taken down after a day or two…so if you don’t download them or record them yourself, you probably wouldn’t even know that they existed.”
First Generation Hispanics Over Twice as Likely to Vote Along Party Lines
A plurality of Hispanic voters (29%) say they decided to vote in the last presidential election because they have a “duty as a citizen to vote,” followed by 18% who vote because they “care about the issues,” and 15% “vote for [their] party’s candidate.”
Those born outside of the United States were over twice as likely to say they voted in order to vote for their party’s candidate than those born inside the United States, 28% to 13%.
While a plurality of non-registered citizens said nothing could get them to register to vote this November, nearly a quarter (23%) say “different or better candidates” could get them to register, 20% say if they were “better informed.”
Compared to significantly higher numbers in other age groups, only 21% of those between 18 and 24 said nothing could get them to register to vote; 29% of these young individuals say different or better candidates would get them to register, and 29% said if they were better informed they would register.
Voters noted the Electoral College setup has discouraged them from participating in elections: “I think the Electoral College makes it very difficult for your vote to matter how it should matter,” a 26-year-old Spanish-speaking Democrat said.
Thirty-one percent (31%) of non-registered respondents agreed that they are not registered to vote because there’s “no difference between Democrats and Republicans.” A 37-year-old non-registered woman said she has the same view of the Democratic and Republican Party when it comes to Latinos. “The Democratic Party tends to use the Latino vote to get them to office.” She continued, “Like, during the election process, you would see the Democratic candidate touring Telemundo, you know, promising that, ‘Yeah, we’re, we care about immigration. And, fun fact, when Trump was in office, do you guys remember that there was this awful news that the kids whose parents have been deported were kept inside cages?’”
Thirty-four percent (34%) of non-registered citizens agree that they are not registered to vote because their “vote won’t change anything.” This sentiment is echoed among some inactive voters as well. When a 40-year-old registered female Independent voter was asked why she did not vote in the last presidential election, and changed from identifying with the Democratic Party to be an Independent voter she said, “I felt like neither party was worth voting for, to be honest with you. I didn’t feel like it. It didn’t make a difference.”
Data was collected from July 8-18, 2022 using a mixed-mode methodology of Interactive Voice Response (IVR), SMS-to- web, 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 Nevada, n=627, with a Credibility Interval (CI), similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.9 percentage points. The registered voter sample consisted of registered voters in Nevada, n=327, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 5.4 percentage points. The non-registered citizen sample consisted of non-registered citizens in Nevada, n=300, +/- 5.6 percentage points. Data sets were weighted by region, gender, age, voter registration, and education.
Focus Group Methodology
Three Nevada focus groups were conducted July 25-26, 2022 at a professional focus group facility, Opinions LTD, located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The moderator guide used to guide the discussion was developed by the research team at Emerson College Polling. Laura Barberena, Ph.D., a staff member at Emerson College Polling Center, served as the moderator for the 3 groups. Participants were recruited by the facility and a recruiting firm using participant screeners (See Supplemental Materials) created for the project. Recruitment was conducted approximately two weeks prior to the groups taking place. An incentive of $125 was offered to participants who met the criteria for the registered voter groups and $150 for those in the non-registered group. Upon arrival at the facility, participants were asked to complete an “In-take Survey” to ensure that they met the criteria for participation in each group (see Supplemental Materials).
Note: Certain quotes from the focus groups have been edited for brevity and clarity