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The Mountain West News Bureau is a collaboration between Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, KUNR in Nevada, Nevada Public Radio, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana and Wyoming Public Media, with support from affiliate stations across the region.

A new poll says young Latino voters could be a force in the 2024 election

A sandwich board sign reads "Vote Here / Aqui" with a giant arrow pointing to the left. It's sunrise in the background and some people can be seen walking past the sign in the background.
Matt York
Associated Press
A polling station at sunrise in Phoenix. Latinos are now the largest ethnic voting bloc in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center, with 36.2 million people eligible to vote in this upcoming election.

Latinos are now the largest ethnic voting bloc, according to the Pew Research Center — 36 million voters strong. According to Pew, an estimated 36.2 million Hispanics are eligible to vote this year, up from 32.3 million in 2020. Young Latinos who will be eligible to vote for the first time are the driving force behind this growth — and their views are different from their parents.

A new poll by Unidos U.S. shows as these young people enter the workforce, their driving concerns are economic: Their wages along with the cost of education, housing and healthcare. In the poll, 52% of eligible voters ages 18-29 said inflation and high cost of living was a major concern, and 43% said the economy was an important issue.

During an online discussion, poll spokesperson Clarissa Martinez said because they are new to the workforce, these younger voters are concerned about a basic need.

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Health care was this age group's third-most important issue (37% of respondents cited it as being important).

“It seems that the highest worry is about healthcare because they tend to be less insured,” Martinez said.

The poll shows these new, eligible Latino voters are U.S.-born, college-educated, bilingual or English dominant.

Poll spokesperson Gary Segura also said young Latinos are shifting away from both major political parties. Segura said they are “significantly more independent.”

The poll showed Trump is not doing much better among Latino registered voters from 2020. But President Biden is doing worse. Overall, only 29% of those polled somewhat approved of the president, with 25% saying they strongly disapprove of him.

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Unidos U.S. feels both parties will need to have more meaningful outreach and effective engagement to reach these younger voters.

“It's a decline in a commitment to a long-term behavioral pattern. And that would be the one both political parties should be concerned about and would want to devote more resources to,” Segura said.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio (KNPR) in Las Vegas, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Yvette Fernandez is the regional reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She joined Nevada Public Radio in September 2021.