LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Many Latinos in Nevada identify politically as independent, which gives them influence in deciding which party will win.
According to data from the Secretary of State, registered independents outnumber those who are registered as Democrats or Republicans.
It’s why with more than a year away before the 2024 presidential election, President Biden’s campaign has purchased ads in the Las Vegas valley aimed at Blacks and Hispanics.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas professor Dr. David Damore says a lot of it has to do with the gains Republicans have made here.
“In general in Nevada Latinos vote much more democratic,” Damore, who is also the interim executive director of the Lincy Institute and Brookings Mountain West, said. “With that said, in particular in the 2020 election cycle, where we had a really big turnout by Nevada standards, you saw the Trump campaign make a lot of inroads in that.”
Maria-Teresa Lieberman-Parraga is the deputy director of the left-leaning group Battle Born Progress. She said Latinos have an independent streak in Nevada.
“Latinos could generally, split ticket vote here in Nevada, which means that both parties need to make sure that they are not treating Latinos as a monolith because they are seeing candidates individually for their specific stances on issues,” Lieberman-Parraga said.
She added Latinos care mostly about the economy, housing, and health care. Immigration is not at the top of their concerns.
“So that’s what you see in a lot of issues, time and time again. Is that pocketbook issue is number one,” she said.
It’s a notion that Republican strategist Jesus Marquez supports. One of the few times he’ll agree with a Democrat.
“When you hear democrats only talking about immigration, that is pushing Hispanic voters away because they’re ignoring the real issue, which is economy, jobs,” Marquez said.
Marquez defends Republican policies, saying they help Latinos.
He adds it’s the reason why over the last three election cycles the GOP has cut into the democrats’ hold on Latino voters, and it started with former President Donald Trump.
“[Republican] economic policies always benefit Latinos. We saw it again, I’m going to repeat this one more time, through the four years of Donald Trump,” Marquez said.
But the challenge is getting independent voters to the ballot box, and both parties have about 14 months to come up with a plan to do so.