In 2018, voters headed to the polls to elect candidates in races for U.S. Congress, statewide constitutional offices, and down the ballot. LPPI Policy Experts Dr. Matt A. Barreto, Sonja Diaz, and a team of policy fellows assessed election returns in real-time to identify: 1) Latino Vote Choice and 2) Latino Electoral Participation, with an emphasis on comparing changes in the number of ballots cast from 2014 to 2018. In full, our research team downloaded more than 20,000 precinct results across eight states to examine patterns in Latino voting.

Overall, our research found the average vote increase among Latinos was 96% compared to 37% among non-Latinos from 2014 to 2018. The 2018 Midterm Elections are an important indicator for estimating Latino voter participation and candidate support in defining control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the executive leadership for the over a dozen states.  Across the eight states, analysis of the official election results suggests growth in the Latino vote was influential in flipping the partisan control of 20 seats from Republican to Democrat in 2018.

Featured Reports

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2018 Midterm Elections Infographics

MEDIA COVERAGE

2018 Midterm Election Media Coverage

NPR, Big Latino Turnout In Midterms Raises Stakes For 2020, (November 19, 2018): “‘I think [Republicans] failed on driving a message that was very positive for them, which was the economy and jobs,’ Daniel Garza at a panel discussion last week organized by the Aspen Institute and UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative.”

KUT 90.5, Big Latino Turnout In Midterms Raises Stakes For 2020, (November 19, 2018): “‘I think [Republicans] failed on driving a message that was very positive for them, which was the economy and jobs,’ said at a panel discussion last week organized by the Aspen Institute and UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative.”

LAist, More Latinos Voted This Election. Are They Turning The Corner On Turnout?, (November 15, 2018): “A new UCLA study suggests turnout among Latino voters jumped in this month’s midterm election. So are we seeing a reversal in low turnout among Latinos? The researchers say that in nearly 40 percent of the precincts where Latinos make up most of the registered voters, the number of ballots cast jumped at least 70 percent. That’s in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties and compared to the last midterms four years ago.”

Dallas News, Latinos could turn Texas blue in 2020 if enthusiasm holds, some say, (November 11, 2018): “Matt Barreto, the co-founder and pollster at Latino Decisions, said a big part of Texas Latinos voting for Democrats was the voter courtship employed by O’Rourke, who paid many visits to the border community to the southeast of his own border hometown of El Paso.”

The Hill, Voter turnout in Latino-heavy areas boosts optimism for 2020, (November 9, 2018): “Matt Barreto, a Democratic pollster who specializes in the Latino electorate, highlighted turnout in Latino-heavy areas where advocacy groups began ramping up their outreach efforts in 2016 as President Trump’s campaign rhetoric focused on immigration.”

KPCC “AirTalk,” LA and OC vote counts continue, plus the Latino vote in this year’s midterms, (November 8, 2018): “We check in with the director of Latino Policy & Politics Initiative at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Sonja Diaz, who has been analyzing the California and national data on Latino voting trends this election season.”

Univision, ¿Por qué los latinos de California no participan masivamente en las elecciones de Estados Unidos?, (November 7, 2018): “El catedrático de la UCLA, David Hayes-Bautista, asegura que la ola de inmigración que llegó en los años 70 y 80, en su mayoría mexicana, tenía una cultura política de abstención al considerar que era incensario votar y que esto ha influenciado en sus descendientes.”

Univision, Para los latinos el tópico más importante para votar no es la inmigración”, dice experto sobre la comunidad hispana, (November 7, 2018): “El catedrático de la UCLA, David Hayes-Bautista, asegura que durante 40 años ha hecho sondeos en la comunidad latina y que lo que más los motiva a la hora de votar es la preocupación por la educación de sus hijos.”

NBC News, Latino, minority voters helped drive Democrats’ gains in U.S. House, experts say, (November 7, 2018): “Precinct analysis from the Latino Politics and Policy Initiative at the University of California at Los Angeles, where Barreto is faculty co-director, showed Harris County had some of the highest vote increases in the county’s majority Latinos precincts.”

NPR, Midterm Election Turnout, (November 6, 2018): “This is likely to be the largest turnout in a nonpresidential election in memory. Normally Americans do not vote frequently in the congressional bi-elections and we have much bigger turnout in presidential election years. There’s some estimates to suggest that we’ll be somewhere near three-quarters of a presidential turnout in tomorrow’s vote,” said UCLA’s Gary Segura. (Approx. 1:53 mark – audio download)

Who.What.Why?, ‘NONCITIZENS’ IN GEORGIA: ARE THEY REALLY TRYING TO VOTE? (November 6, 2018): “It’s possible that the state is trying to remove people from the rolls as part of a larger strategy, according to Gary Segura, dean of the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA and author of several books on Hispanics in politics…’Despite this, the number of actual cases of in-person, identity-based voter fraud, or noncitizens actually voting, is infinitesimal, according to research,’ Segura said.”

CNN, The California districts that could determine control of the House, (November 5, 2018): “There was a substantial increase in turnout in heavily Latino precincts in two of the closest races in Orange County — CA-39 and CA-48 — according to an analysis by the UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative…In the primary, the number of ballots cast in some majority-Latino precincts in CA-39 were up by as much as 245% over 2014 levels, according to UCLA’s analysis.”

Los Angeles Times, Whether they vote or not, Latinos are poised to play a pivotal role in key midterm races (November 4, 2018): “Sonja Diaz said while the burden of increasing Latino voter participation falls on civic engagement groups and family members, political candidates and parties also have to invest in engaging those voters. In Southeast Los Angeles County, a region long plagued by corruption and low voter turnout, the institute found that voter engagement ahead of the June primaries led to greater voter turnout in those precincts.”

Los Angeles Times, Marking a shift, the race for Los Angeles County sheriff may be up for grabs (November 3, 2018): “More Latinos are expected to vote in the upcoming election than in any midterm in L.A. County history due to the growing size of the Latino population, said Matt Barreto… “In nonpartisan elections in L.A. County, [Latinos] have very strong support for Spanish-surname candidates or Latino candidates because there is a sense they will provide better representation for the community,” Barreto said.”

Associated Press, America’s gender, racial divides on display in House races (October 31, 2018): “Political scientists have been debating whether Congress’ low approval rating — now 21 percent — has something to do with lawmakers not seeming to reflect the country they represent, said Matt Barreto… Overall, while the House is closer to reflecting the makeup of the country, which is still majority white, the representation is lopsided between the parties. ‘Everyone wants a representative from their community to stand up for their issues,’ Barreto said. For the House, he said, ‘It’s the entire point: They’re representatives.'”

Yahoo News, Early signs point to a Latino wave for Democrats, (October 31, 2018): “Subsequent reports by UCLA’s Latino Policy and Politics Initiative concluded that the ‘Latino vote increased more than any other demographic in Los Angeles County from June 2014 to June 2018’ and that ‘in Orange County, ballots cast in majority-Latino precincts were up over 2014 numbers by as much as a 245 percent.’”

Washington Post, Trump’s manufactured menace (October 26, 2018): “UCLA political scientist Matt Barreto said Democrats’ reluctance to engage Trump on immigration as a campaign issue means “Latino voters are essentially confused — they don’t know who to vote for.” But Barreto expects Trump’s latest immigration attacks might not work as well with white voters as they did in 2016.”

New York Times, Even for Trump, there is such a thing as too far  (October 24, 2018): (Commentary written by UCLA’s Matt Barreto) “In poll after poll, voters agree that Mr. Trump’s strategy is an effort to divide the country while distracting voters from other important issues, like access to affordable health care. In these last two weeks of campaigning, Democratic candidates would be wise to call out Mr. Trump’s xenophobia for what it is, to stand up for the most basic human rights and then to remind voters that the 2017 tax cuts were designed, in the main, to benefit the wealthy.”

KQED, Why Is It So Hard to Engage Latino Voters? They’re Young – and Historically Neglected, (October 9, 2018): “UCLA professor Matt A. Barreto says it’s the product of 50 years of neglect. ‘The Latino and farmworker community has been neglected, ignored, harassed and scapegoated in [the] Central Valley,’ Barreto says. ‘Latinos in this region have low rates of voting, not because they don’t care about politics, but because they have been systematically excluded and never welcomed with open arms into the political system.'”

Los Angeles Times, Can Beto O’Rourke awaken Texas’ Latino vote? His bid to turn the state purple depends on it (October 1, 2018): “’We don’t know whether or not these big rallies will result in a swell in turnout,’ said Matt Barreto… A big concern is that the most recent data show Latinos reporting the same level of campaign outreach — someone actually knocking on the door and talking about the race — as was reported at this time in 2014. Those contacts, Barreto said, are the single most important thing a campaign can do to drive up turnout.”

Yahoo News, As Trump visits border, Latino voters are watching and biding their time (March 13, 2018): “‘It’s a comparative status question,’ says Gary Segura, Dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs… ‘Latinos tend not to vote in midterm elections; older, whiter, higher-income people tend to vote instead. So what will the presence of a president like Trump do? In theory, it will narrow that gap. Latinos will turn out in higher numbers than people expect — and that will make a difference in at least some of these races.'”

2018 Primary Election Media Coverage

The New York Times, What Went Wrong for Villaraigosa: A California Stalwart Ponders His Loss for Governor, (June 13, 2018): “But Matt A. Barreto, the head of the Latino Policy and Politics Initiative at the University of California, Los Angeles, said an early review of some vote totals — in heavily Latino districts in Orange County and Los Angeles County — suggested that those voters had turned out to a considerable extent, and voted for Latino candidates on the ballot, such as Xavier Becerra, a Democrat and the attorney general, and Alex Padilla, the secretary of state. He said that Mr. Villaraigosa had trailed behind them.”

The Mercury News, Did Trump spur Latinos to California’s primary polls? (June 11, 2018): “Matt A. Barreto, political science professor at UCLA, said there were encouraging signs for the Latino primary vote in Los Angeles. An analysis by the Latino Policy and Politics Institute at UCLA showed the Latino vote increased more than any other demographic in Los Angeles County from June 2014 to June 2018.”

Sacramento Bee, California Influencers: What did we learn from the June primary election, and why? (June 11, 2018): “According to election analysis conducted by the Latino Policy & Politics Initiative at UCLA, the Latino vote played an important role in the June 2018 primary. In Orange County, ballots cast in majority-Latino precincts were up over 2014 numbers by as much as a 245% increase – without all the 2018 votes recorded yet.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune,  Will debate over immigration, sanctuary law be at center of November elections? (June 11, 2018): “Preliminary analyses from UC Los Angeles Latino Policy and Politics Initiative suggest that Latino voters did show up at a higher rate than they did for the 2014 primary, at least in Los Angeles and Orange counties.”

The Washington Post, Mixed results on Tuesday for California’s Latino candidates and voters (June 6, 2018): “Barreto said that Orange County’s precinct-level returns show a high Latino turnout, and that those voters played a potentially decisive role in helping Democrats secure spots for the general election in three key congressional districts. Those districts have been held for years by Republicans, including two who declined to run this year.”

San Francisco Chronicle, Latino turnout, if not candidates, surged in California primary (June 6, 2018): “The early signs on Latino turnout is that it is way above the 2014 level,” said Matt Barreto.

KNX “In-Depth,” The Latino Vote (June 6, 2018): “We do in fact believe Latinos made a difference…in Orange County we see surges, surges, upwards of 10% to 245% of ballots cast over June 2014.” Sonja Diaz, UCLA.

KPCC “Airtalk,” Latinx Turnout in California Primaries (June 5, 2018): “One of the things you’ve been talking about is that race in California 39 that’s very close.… Orange County is actually one of the places that’s already providing precinct by precinct data. That’s really good for us because we can go a little bit deeper than just the county overall,” said UCLA’s Matt Barreto. [Audio download] (Approx. 01:10 mark)

New York Times, How Latino Voting Power Will Count in the California Primary (June 4, 2018): “Latinos have faced voter intimidation in the state for generations. In the Central Valley, for example, farm owners would threaten to fire workers if their names showed up on voter rolls, according to Matt Barreto.”

The Washington Post, California’s Race for Governor has become a Referendum on Resistance (June 3, 2018):“It’s always harder to get back in once you’ve been out,” said Matt Barreto, a political science and Chicano studies professor at UCLA.”

Sacramento Bee, The Influencer Series (June 3, 2018): Featured Dr. Matt Barreto’s quote “The single biggest challenge facing California is that of inclusion and opportunity to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to be included in the California Dream, to have access to education, a fair wage and a chance to own their own home.”

San Francisco Chronicle, Antonio Villaraigosa’s chance to be California governor hinges on Latino vote (June 2, 2018): “The polls may be undercounting Villaraigosa’s support among Latinos, said Matt Barreto, a professor of political science at UCLA.”

Los Angeles Times, Why these California Republicans keep winning in Democratic-leaning districts (May 22, 2018): “Across the Central Valley, Latino voters get fewer calls, door knocks and mail from campaigns that don’t believe they’ll turn out on election night, said Matt Barreto.”

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