Employment Concerns Brought Latinos to the Polls

By Catherine Singley, Senior Policy Analyst, Economic and Employment Policy Project, NCLR

If you still haven’t checked out the interactive results from the Impremedia/Latino Decisions Election Eve Poll of Latino voters released yesterday, you can probably guess one major takeaway: the economy was the number one issue on Latino voters’ minds, as it was for all Americans.  What you may not know is that the employment situation was a major motivating factor in getting Latinos to the polls in battleground states.  This is an important lesson from the 2012 election, when many pundits questioned whether voters might have a hopeless outlook on the economy and stay home on Election Day.

According to data collected by canvassers as part of the NCLR Action Fund’s efforts to mobilize Latino voters in Pennsylvania, Florida, Colorado, and Nevada, 76 percent of Latino voters said the employment situation made them more likely to vote in the election.  Only 4 percent said that they were less motivated to vote because of this issue, and 20 percent said it had little bearing on their decision to get to the polls.  There are some interesting differences between states, as the figure below shows.  Also, employment was more motivating for Spanish-preferred voters compared to English-preferred in every locality except Philadelphia.

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Source: Data collected from NCLR Action Fund canvassers on 2012 Get Out the Vote efforts.

What do Latino voters prioritize when it comes to jobs?  Given that the majority of Latino adults are employed, it’s probably not all about finding work.  NCLR hosted a series of focus groups in Florida this summer to find out more.  We heard that Latino voters prioritize:

  • Keeping the jobs they have or finding jobs that they can keep.
  • Getting paid for the work that they do.
  • Earning enough to pay bills and raise a healthy family.
  • Holding elected officials accountable for creating good jobs.

Read more about what Latino workers care about in their own words here.

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