Will Latino demographics manifest their destiny in 2020? Could the Latino vote turn Texas blue for the first time in over 40 years? It’s hard to say, but if organizers want to boost Latino turnout, they’ll want to focus on voter registration. While it’s typically reported that Latino turnout is 10 to 20 points lower than that of other demographics, that might just be because they are registered at lower rates. Latinos vote at a comparable rate to other groups—75 percent—once they are registered to vote.
Exit poll data on the Latino vote is scant, and where there is data, the methodology is questionable. Just six of the 15 states and territories that held primaries on 2020 Super Tuesday had a breakdown of the Latino vote. Latinos made up less than 10 percent of Democratic voters in three of those six, and the state-level margins of error was as high as 7 points. Exit polling in general of the Latino vote can be questionable—and typically overstates GOP support and undercounts Democratic support by about 10 points—for two primary reasons. One, it’s not clear if the poll is offered in Spanish as well as English, and if so, how many surveys were conducted in Spanish. Two, the Latino population is more heavily concentrated in Democrat-heavy districts, and the exit polls tend to sample swing districts.
All that said, more than 1.8 million Latinos cast votes in just those six states on Tuesday, including the two states with the largest Latino populations, California and Texas. The results give an indication of how the top candidates are faring with the demographic, projected to be the largest minority bloc of eligible voters for the first time ever in 2020.