Regularly scheduled primaries, of course, don’t feature a Democratic candidate versus a Republican candidate. We can, however, look at the relative turnout between the Democratic and Republican primaries. This is instructive in Texas where voters don’t register by party and can choose which party’s primary to vote in.
In Starr County, 24% of primary votes were cast on the Republican side Tuesday. It was basically nothing in 2018, with a mere 0.2% of primary votes being cast on the Republican side. That’s a 24-point shift.
Compare this with what happened statewide in Texas this year. There was slight movement toward Republicans: Of the votes cast on the Democratic or Republican side, 65% were Republican primary votes. In 2018, it was 60%. This was a 4-point shift without rounding.
Put another way, the shift in Republican primary participation in those 16 heavily Hispanic counties was nearly three times the statewide shift.
More signs of a shift
Texas, though, is only one state. Further, it’s just a primary.
But even on the national level, Texas does not seem to be that much of an outlier.
While it’s not clear that Hispanic Americans have moved even more toward the Republicans relative to how Americans overall are shifting, it’s clear that Republicans are holding their gains from 2020.
Democrats have held a 23-point advantage among Hispanics on the generic congressional ballot in the average of these polls so far this year.
This 5-point shift toward Republicans among Hispanics is in line with the 5-point shift we see among voters overall — Republicans ahead by 2 points on the generic congressional ballot, compared with losing the national House vote by 3 points in 2020.
The key thing to realize, though, is that Democrats did worse — and Republicans did better — among Hispanic voters in 2020 House races relative to the national vote than in any House election since 2004. So while not losing additional ground is not a bad thing for Democrats, it’s not a good thing either.
The Biden factor
If anything, the picture gets better for Republicans when you examine Biden’s popularity. Across the CNN, Fox and Quinnipiac polls this year, the President’s net approval rating averages +2 points with Hispanic Americans. That’s 17 points better than his net approval rating with voters overall in these polls (-15 points).
In the 2020 election, Biden’s margin with Hispanic voters was about 23 points better than it was overall.
The fact that the political preferences of Hispanic Americans are jumping around may get at something larger: Their votes are up for grabs more so than the average voter’s. While they may still be more Democratic-leaning, both parties have a good chance of making up ground among the Hispanic electorate.
I’d expect a lot of attention to be focused on this growing bloc of voters in the midterms.