Democrats have a big problem with Latino voters. Despite coming up short in the 2020 presidential election, counties in South Texas and those making up the Miami metro area witnessed the biggest shift in vote share to President Trump.
Trump even became the first Republican to win Zapata County, on the winding Rio Grande, since Warren G. Harding. That realignment, which Democrats ignored because of hubris, complacency—or both—continues in the Virginia governor’s race.
A Dead Heat
Like Trump, Republican Glenn Youngkin is running on a message to win over culturally conservative Hispanic voters. His Democratic rival Terry McAuliffe seems to be banking on an identity-based appeal. The problem is that this tired, old strategy doesn’t work like it used to. Like blue-collar voters, Latinos find themselves increasingly isolated from the Democratic Party as it becomes more progressive and less compromising. Ideology is beginning to trump party loyalty.
The news comes at a pivotal time for Virginia. Although the Commonwealth trends blue, President Biden’s unpopularity outside Northern Virginia and Richmond threatens to weigh McAuliffe down.
Richmond’s WRIC 8News reports:
A Nexstar/Emerson College poll released Wednesday shows Democrat Terry McAuliffe with 49% of support among likely voters in the governor’s race and Republican Glenn Youngkin with 48%, a difference well within the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points. While early voting for the Nov. 2 election is already underway, two percent of likely voters said they were still undecided. “What we would really expect in a normal year, a Democrat against a Republican, based on the data we’ve had in recent elections, is that McAuliffe should cruise to a comfortable victory. But that’s not what we’re seeing in the polls,” said 8News political analyst Rich Meagher.
Looking Deeper Into the Contest
Moreover, McAuliffe’s attack ads desperately trying to link Youngkin to Trump haven’t resonated with suburbanites. Nor should they. The fallout of the Biden economy is far more relevant in the day-to-day lives of Virginians.
WRIC 8 News adds:
The poll’s subset of undecided voters is much smaller in the governor’s race than in the attorney general’s race. But a majority of likely voters who said they were undecided shared they were leaning towards the Republicans in both races, with 65% favoring Miyares over Herring and 69% favoring Youngkin over McAuliffe. While the statewide races in Virginia have garnered much of the attention, all 100 House of Delegates seats are also on the ballot this year. Support for the state legislature, which has been under Democratic control for the last two years, was split among the respondents.
It appears the momentum is on Youngkin’s side. Whether that will led to down-ballot victories remains unknowable. Interestingly, with Republicans locked out of the governor’s mansion for over a decade, 55% of the poll’s respondents believe McAuliffe will win. The good news is that same complacency helped ensured Hillary Clinton’s defeat in 2016. It could very well secure a conservative victory next month in Virginia.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Republican Standard.