Successful campaigns and key statewide ballot issues in the 2022 midterms were buoyed by strong support from Colorado’s Latino voters, according to results of the first-ever nonpartisan Colorado Latino Exit Poll released today. Voces Unidas de las Montañas, Voces Unidas Action Fund, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), and COLOR Action Fund commissioned the polling.
“Latinos were motivated by a desire to support the issues they care deeply about and to advance the interests of their community,” said pollster Gabe Sanchez of BSP Research. “The Latino electorate is highly influential in Colorado and nowhere is that more clear than in Congressional District 8, which has the largest concentration of Latino voters in the state. Latinos supported the candidate from their own community at even higher rates than the state's overall Democratic vote, helping propel Yadira Caraveo to Congress.”
Fielded from Oct. 10 - Nov. 8, the Colorado Latino Exit Poll surveyed 531 Latina and Latino voters across the state, including oversampling in the new 8th CD, and provides insights into the views of a critical demographic in the 2022 midterms. The Colorado Latino Exit Poll will be conducted bi-annually to help bolster research around the attitudes and policy preferences of Latino voters – the state’s second-largest and fastest-growing voting bloc.
Among other key findings in the inaugural poll:
Primary motivation for Latino voters in 2022 was to stand up for the issues that they cared about and to make positive changes in their communities;
Latinos supported key ballot issues (Amendments GG and FF, and Props 121 and 123) at 3:1 margins;
Majorities of Latino voters said Democrats were best equipped to address major issues around the economy, reproductive healthcare, gun violence, conservation, and immigration; and
Latinos in Colorado voted for Democratic candidates over Republicans at a 2:1 margin.
In an election cycle where Latino voting behavior at the national and state levels was speculated to move more conservative, Latinos in Colorado showed overwhelming support (70%) for Michael Bennet in his bid for reelection to the U.S. Senate, and an equally robust 70% support for the reelection of Governor Jared Polis. Contrary to speculation that Latinos could help drive a “red wave” in 2022, Latinos in Colorado voted for Democratic candidates at a 2:1 margin. Fueled by a 68% approval rating of President Joe Biden among Latino voters – compared to just 32% with a favorable view of former President Trump – the trend carried down the ballot, with Latinos supporting Democratic candidates in congressional races across the state at 72% relative to 26% who reported voting for Republicans. That included higher Democratic support (75%) in the new 8th Congressional District – the state’s most diverse, at nearly 40% Latino – where Yadira Caraveo became the first Latina elected to Congress from Colorado.
“During this midterm election, Latinas and Latinos demonstrated that we are more than just a swing vote; we are a vote that matters year-round,” said Dusti Gurule, President, and CEO of Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) and COLOR Action Fund. “Our community's power is at the core of our movement for reproductive justice and, among other issues, Latinos overwhelmingly stood united in support of protecting and expanding access to reproductive health and justice for ALL Coloradans. This is what happens when you invest in and work with the community from the ground up."
Although partisanship considerations were relevant (26% stated their primary motivation was to support Democratic candidates, 12% to support Republicans), polling clearly shows that Latinos were more motivated by a host of factors beyond party loyalties. Foremost among them was “to stand up for the issues I care about” (34%), followed by “to make positive change in my community” (30%). More than half of those surveyed said their political ideology had not changed since the 2020 election, and nearly equal numbers reported becoming more liberal as those who said they had become more conservative since 2020. Among the motivating issues identified in pre-election polling conducted as part of the Colorado Latino Policy Agenda, respondents in the Colorado Latino Exit Poll overwhelmingly believe Democrats would best address major policy areas. That includes protecting immigrants and reforming immigration laws (65% said Democrats vs 20% saying Republicans), protecting and expanding reproductive healthcare (60% vs 18%), keeping communities safe from gun violence (59% vs 21%), solving the climate crisis and protecting our air, water, and land (57% vs 19%), and creating better jobs and improving the economy (55% vs 25%).
“A key takeaway for policymakers and elected officials is that Latino voters in Colorado are not a monolith and are issues-driven,” said Alex Sánchez, President, and CEO of Voces Unidas de las Montañas and Voces Unidas Action Fund. “All of our polling since 2021 suggests that Latinos want to be engaged but also need to see their policy issues and political values reflected in political systems, including on candidate platforms. And they also demand action on clear policy preferences."
The Colorado Latino Exit Poll is part of the Colorado Latino Agenda (CLA), a research initiative led by Voces Unidas de las Montañas, Voces Unidas Action Fund, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), and COLOR Action Fund to provide insights into the demographic makeup and views of Latino adults in Colorado on pressing policy, political, and social issues. Additional 2022 partners included Protégete of Conservation Colorado. Polling for the initiative is conducted by BSP Research, a national firm with a 20-year track record of researching minority communities. Learn more at coloradolatinoexitpoll.org.