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Follow KUNC's coverage of the 2022 midterm election, and get results on all the state races here.

Colorado Latinos overwhelmingly voted for Democrats despite Republican hopes to win them over

Colorado's Latino voters helped Democrats win across the state, especially in the newly-formed 8th Congressional District.
Emma VandenEinde
Colorado's Latino voters helped Democrats win across the state, especially in the newly-formed 8th Congressional District.

A new exit poll from the Colorado Latino Policy Agenda shows Latino voters in Colorado overwhelmingly voted for Democratic candidates in this year’s midterm elections. It also finds the majority of Latino voters supported key ballot measures.

The poll is conducted around elections every two years. This year, it surveyed 531 Latino voters across the state in the weeks before election day. Two-thirds of them voted for — or were planning on voting for — Democrats.

Republicans hoped concerns over the economy and public safety would cause backlash against the Democratic Party. But according to the poll, Latino voters have more trust in Democrats to handle economic and public safety issues than in Republicans.

“Really, it was more of a need to vote their values,” says Dusti Gurule with COLOR Latina, one of the poll’s organizers. “That helped propel candidates and issues to victory up and down the ballot.”

Incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet won reelection in the US Senate race with 69% of the Latino vote. In Congressional races across the state, 72% of Latinos across the state voted for Democrats. Similar majorities of Latinos voted to reelect Governor Jared Polis, Secretary of State Jena Griswold, and Attorney General Phil Weiser.

According to the poll, Latino voters trust Democrats more than Republicans to address key issues.
Courtesy of Colorado Latino Exit Poll 2022
According to the poll, Latino voters trust Democrats more than Republicans to address key issues.

Latino voters played an especially large role in the new 8th Congressional District election, which was formed this year and includes Adams and Weld Counties. Seventy-five percent of the Latino vote there went to Democratic Candidate Yadira Caraveo, who is also Latina.

“We can definitely say, without the Latino electorate going hard for her, she would not be the first Latina ever to enter the US House from the state of Colorado,” says Gabe Sanchez, another organizer behind the survey.

Most Latino voters also supported the propositions on the ballot this year. About 80% voted to approve Proposition 123, which dedicates funding for affordable housing. Overall, voters were split on the measure, and as of Friday, Nov 11, the election for Proposition 123 was still too close to call. A similar majority of Latino voters also supported Proposition FF, which voters approved and will provide free school lunches across Colorado.

But Sanchez says that’s not because Latinos vote along party lines.

“We found that Latinos were mobilized by the issues they care about and to make positive change in their communities more so than party loyalty,” Sanchez says.

The poll breaks down some of the demographic differences within the Latino community and how that corresponds to political ideology. It shows that Latino voters under the age of 30 tend to vote along more liberal lines, in contrast with some older voters who are more conservative. Spanish-speaking and foreign-born Latinos vote to the left while American-born English speakers are more likely to vote to the right. It also found a smaller-than-expected shift to a more conservative ideology overall among the Latino electorate since the 2020 election.

Poll organizers also point out data showing when Latino voters made up their minds on how to vote. Less than half decided on their vote over a month ahead of time, with most making up their minds within weeks of election day.

“It’s important to recognize, not only do Latinos need early outreach, but full information throughout the whole campaign,” Sanchez says. “Some Latinos get it out of the way and already have their mind made up, but a large segment take more time to dive deep into the policy issues.”

He says the information in the poll will help improve outreach to the Latinos going forward. That’s important here in Colorado, where the Latino community has a significant and growing influence over politics and policy.

I’m the Statehouse Reporter at KUNC, which means I help make sense of the latest developments at the Colorado State Capitol. I cover the legislature, the governor, and government agencies.