MEMO: Latinos Are Voting For Climate This Election

TO:            Interested Parties
FROM:      Vanessa Cárdenas, Climate Power 2020 Strategist
RE:            Latinos Are Voting For Climate This Election

In this election Latinos are voting to send a message that they are a critical part of the American electorate, to demand attention to the crippling impact of COVID has had on their health and economic security, and to demand action on climate change.

Representing the nation’s largest share of nonwhite voters, Latinos make up a record 32 million – or 13 percent – of all eligible voters. So far, more than 5.4 million Latinos have voted early this election cycle compared to 3.1 million in 2016. These figures include over 580,000 first-time voters, according to Wednesday’s data from TargetSmart. Notably, younger Latinos, between the ages of 18 and 35, make up 40% of eligible Latino voters. According to the same data, over 848,000 young Latino have already voted compared to 322,000 in 2016.

Latinos will be a key part of a climate coalition voting for climate and demanding action on day one. Polling shows these voters have had enough of the current administration’s policies of COVID and climate denial. They are ready to turn the page on the chaotic anti-science agenda of the past four years.

The Latino community has been subject to environmental racism for decades, poisoned by higher levels of toxic pollution and dirty air, which has made them more likely to contract and die from the coronavirus. Yet, Trump and his Republican allies’ policies have allowed Big Oil and coal CEOs to spew more pollution into our communities.

Instead of listening to experts, this administration put oil and coal lobbyists in charge of protecting our environment – and immediately went to work rolling back over 100 environmental safeguards, allowing corporate polluters to pump more toxic pollution and chemicals into our air and water and putting the health of our families and kids at risk. These policies are falling flat with Latino voters.

Joe Biden has announced plans that follow the guidance of our nation’s most respected scientists and experts – and his policies on climate reflect a basic responsibility to leave a better world for our children.

Biden’s plan to recover from the coronavirus crisis focuses on rebuilding an economy that works for regular Americans, not just CEOs. His plan includes the largest-ever investment in clean energy. It will create 10 million good-paying, union jobs that will allow the U.S. to achieve 100% clean electricity by 2035, reduce pollution to help protect our kids’ health, spur innovation and economic growth, and combat climate change.

Latino voters overwhelmingly support this transformational plan to invest in our communities. A recent New York Times/Siena College poll found that 70% of Latinos support Biden’s $2 trillion clean energy plan, compared to only 26% that oppose it. This is among the highest levels of support for the plan of any demographic group.

The politics of climate have changed, and climate is a winning issue when Latino voters are presented with a plan to take bold action to combat climate change based on science.

Latinos and Climate:

Energized Latino voters could bring a strong base of support for pro-climate candidates. 

  • In the 2018 election, all major racial and ethnic groups saw historic jumps in voter turnout. Hispanics and Asians each saw their turnout rates increase to about 40%. For both groups, this was about a 13 percentage point increase over 2014, when turnout rates had declined to record lows for a midterm election year.
  • The number of Latino voters nearly doubled from 2014 to 2018, nearing presidential election year levels. Overall, Latino voter turnout reached 11.7 million in 2018, up from 6.8 million in 2014 – the single largest increase on record from one midterm election to another. Turnout among Latinos is the second-largest of any election year, presidential or midterm, trailing only the 2016 presidential elections. About 29 million Latinos were eligible to vote in 2018, up from approximately 25 million in 2014.
  • Hispanic turnout in 2018 was consistent with a substantially greater interest in the election compared with four years earlier: Before the midterms, 52% of Hispanic registered voters said they were giving “quite a lot” of thought to the elections, up from just 35% in 2014.

Latinos believe in climate change – and they want their leaders to act. 

  • Climate change is a key issue for young Latino voters, and that they are more likely to vote for someone who has a plan to take bold action.
  • An overwhelming 77% of Latino voters support a strong message of action to combat the climate crisis. This message also increases Joe Biden’s Latino voting margin by 4 points.
  • Polling data conducted by Latino Decisions in 2018, found that over 78% of Latinos have personally experienced the effects of climate change in their state.
  • Over 65% said they have personally experienced extreme weather patterns such as deadly heat waves, frequent and intense storms, and flooding within the past five years.