Ahead of the Presidential Debate, Pocketbook Issues, Immigration and Gun Violence Top Latino Voter Priorities

UnidosUS President and CEO, Issue Experts Available to Discuss Latino Voters’ Top Concerns

WASHINGTON, DC— Hispanics are the second largest group of voting-age Americans and a critical factor in the winning equation for the presidency.  Ahead of tomorrow’s Presidential Debate in Atlanta, UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization, is lifting up the top priorities for Latino voters, and calling on President Biden and President Trump to lay out their solutions particularly around cost of living, wages, housing affordability, immigration and gun violence.

“Hispanic voters will be a decisive factor in 2024, and with 1 in 5 voting in a presidential election for the first time, meaningful outreach is imperative” said Clarissa Martinez De Castro, Vice President of the UnidosUS Latino Vote Initiative. “Latino voters are sending a wake-up call to not be taken for granted. To win their votes, candidates need to do serious outreach, with a clear picture of how their plans match up with these voters’ priorities – inflation and the cost of living, wages, immigration and the border, affordable housing and gun violence. At tomorrow’s debate, we urge the candidates to lead with their proposed solutions to these concerns and exhibit the traits Latino voters want to see: someone who brings people together, has realistic policy solutions and will compromise to get things done.”

Key Issues for Hispanic Voters

Based on UnidosUS robust multi-state polling of Hispanic voters on economic security, immigration and the overall issue and party support landscape ahead of the November election, findings show that:

  • On economic priorities: When asked about their single top priority, voters ranked inflation and the cost of living as the most important issue for their elected officials to focus on, followed by jobs and the economy.
    • For those choosing cost of living as the top priority, our research has shown that the two potent drivers behind that are wages and housing costs. The cost of housing — both to rent and to own — has also emerged as a stand-alone priority for Latino voters.
    • Latinos have experienced some positive outcomes at the macroeconomic level with unemployment at near historic lows, real wages rising for low-income workers and inflation continuing to decline. Still, a new UnidosUS multi-state survey of 1,200 Latinos found that many are stressed about their financial situation and struggling to make ends meet.
    • Additionally, Latinos are struggling with student debt. Fifty-three percent of Latinos with student loans reported going into deferment or forbearance, and 19% said their loans went into default.
  • On immigration: This issue has risen on the Latino priority list, to the top “non-economic” issue, according to our most recent survey.
    • On immigration overall, the top priorities are providing a path to citizenship for long-term undocumented people (53%) and DACA recipients (42%). A second tier of priorities include cracking down on human smugglers (29%), increasing border security (28%) and increasing legal immigration through family and employment-based visas (27%).
    • Specifically regarding the border, Hispanic voters overwhelmingly prioritize cracking down on human traffickers and drug smugglers (82%) and notably, providing a path to citizenship for long-term undocumented immigrants (62%).
  • On crime/gun violence: Hands down the concern is gun violence, which emerged as one of the top 5 priorities in 2022 and remains there today.
    • Within crime and gun violence, their top issues are that guns are too easy to access (63%), and they want elected officials need to put an end to school shootings (52%) and expand community safety and mental health programs (45%).
    • In terms of school safety, Latino voters primarily want to see a response that includes mental health programs and counseling, secure entry and ID checks and gun reforms like universal background checks.
    • A sizeable majority of Latinos support a ban on AR-15 weapons.