Democratic strategists spoke with Fox News Digital about a poll showing a massive shift by conservative Latinos from the Democratic Party to the GOP and said that crime, treating Latino voters as single-issue voters and the embrace of the far-left have played roles in the shift.
According to polling from NBC News, Telemundo and the Wall Street Journal, 49% of self-described conservative Latinos preferred Democrats to control Congress, 9 points more than Republicans. In September 2022, 73% of conservative Latinos support Republicans in Congress as opposed to 17% who prefer Democrats, a 56-point GOP advantage.
“They don’t like the socialists,” Hank Sheinkopf, veteran Democratic political consultant and president of Sheinkopf Communications, told Fox News Digital about the Latino community. “They don’t like the abortion argument being thrust at them on a constant basis. They don’t like the crime. They don’t like the chaos. And they’re responding.”
Sheinkopf added that Democrats “always” do worse than they think they are going to do when “chaos” is occurring in the United States and warned that Democrats are “failing to understand” that abortion is not the “end-all be-all.”
“Crime and chaos take over, and the economy,” Sheinkopf said, adding that historically the party in power always struggles when there is economic chaos or a perceived crime problem.
“So now you’re having a nationwide uptick in crime,” Sheinkopf said. “Homicides are up. Who pays the price for circumstances like that? The party in power.”
Democratic strategist Jennifer Holdsworth told Fox News Digital the poll is a “bit of an outlier” but acknowledged that Democrats should focus on issues besides immigration when speaking to the Latino community, especially in border counties where Republicans have made significant gains with Hispanic voters in recent years.
“I think that there’s been a lot of movement by the Hispanic community away from being single-issue voters. It’s not just about immigration. They’re a community of faith. There’s a lot of small businesses. It’s health care and housing prices. Ironically, it’s about a lot of issues that Democrats are very strong on. But if we singularly message to the Latino and Hispanic community about immigration, we’re doing ourselves a disservice in talking to those voters.”
Holdsworth says that she believes the Democratic Party is aware of the Latino shift to the GOP and is properly making moves and allocating resources to combat it.
“I’ve seen a big push to start messaging on small businesses a lot, a lot more often, and I think that’ll make a difference,” Holdsworth said about Democratic messaging efforts.
Jose Aristimuño, a Democratic strategist and former deputy national press secretary for the Democratic Party, told Fox News Digital that Democrats “need to do a better job at all levels in making sure that we message to Latinos on the things that they care about.”
Latinos very much care about the same things that the rest of America cares about,” Aristimuño said. “They care about the economy, they care about health care, they care about education, obviously crime and things like that.”
Aristimuño said Democrats should tout Biden’s accomplishments, including the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS Act that he says has improved the lives of those in the Latino community and helped them gain more access to healthcare and provided caps on prescription medicine.
“I just think Democrats need to do a better job in highlighting that,” Aristimuño said.
Aristimuño acknowledged that the “hard left” in the Democratic Party, including progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has driven away moderate Latino voters and said the far-left faction of the party has been “damaging.”
However, Aristimuño took an optimistic tone about Democrat chances in the upcoming midterms and said they will be “just fine” while also dismissing the conventional wisdom that conservative Latino voters, particularly women, support the Republican position on abortion.
“When I talk to folks in the community, Latinas, their personal choice they might say, ‘No, I would never have an abortion, but I don’t think abortion should be illegal,'” Aristimuño said. “They might be religious, but they actually believe and understand the government has a role to play in it.”
Democrats have lost significant ground to Republicans among Latino voters compared to previous election cycles, according to the recent polling from NBC News and Telemundo, which shows that while 51% of Latino voters approve of President Biden’s overall job performance, only 42% approve of his handling of the border and only 41% approve of his job on the economy.
Longtime Democrat and MSNBC host Al Sharpton warned earlier this week that Democrats are not “connecting” to Black and Latino voters.
“The Democratic Party and President Biden does have some things they could be using that they’ve done that has benefited clearly Black and Latinos, but it’s not connecting,” Sharpton said. “So you’re seeing this as the polls indicate, Latinos and Black men go the other way, because they’re not getting their message to the ground in the way they should.”