How religion and abortion will affect Florida’s midterm elections among crucial Hispanic voters
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With 26.5% of Florida’s total population made up of Latino voters, according to the 2020 census, Sunshine State candidates have historically depended on the Hispanic vote to advance them in primary and general elections. Democratic and Republican strategists say Tuesday’s election will depend on the state of the economy and crime.
However, the United States Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade in June could affect Latino voters as they grapple with the issue of abortion, with growing numbers of Hispanics drifting away from the left.
“When we talk about Hispanic voters, it’s important to emphasize that there isn’t just one ‘Hispanic community,’ but rather many diverse communities across the country,” Giancarlo Sopo, founder of Visto Media and head of of Hispanic advertising for former President Trump. 2020 campaign, Fox News Digital told Fox News Digital. “There has clearly been a shift both nationally and in key regions.”
The recent landmark decision Dobbs v. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization that eliminated the federal right to abortion and gave states the power to legalize the procedure has become a hot topic in recent months, especially in lower socioeconomic communities.
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“We know that Latino voters in Florida, like voters across the country, support access to safe and legal abortion and want to be able to control their own health care decisions without political interference,” Alexandra said. Mandado, CEO and President of Florida Planned Parenthood. PAC, Fox News Digital told in an emailed statement. “Unfortunately, Latin American communities face disproportionate barriers to care due to centuries of systemic discrimination, barriers that will only get worse with the reversal of Roe v. Wade, including the banning of abortion in Florida.”
With the Hispanic community historically being a more religious and left-leaning voting demographic, appealing to communities’ religious ties has been a commonly used campaign strategy.
“I think that’s what fuels a lot of the registration issues in terms of changing party registration. But also also just changing how they vote. So I think more than anything, I think it’s fueling that increase in terms of Republican support statewide,” Kevin Walling, Democratic campaign strategist and former Biden 2020 campaign surrogate, told Fox News Digital.
Walling said religion, among other factors such as age and generation, was one of the factors playing a role in how Hispanic voters confronted the issue of abortion.
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“I think what we’re seeing in some of the polling data is that the genre of mainstream Catholic Latinos mirrors non-Latino Catholics in terms of support, overwhelming support, majority support for keeping abortion legal as opposed to to evangelical Christian Latinos, who are on the rise, which helped fuel Donald Trump’s numbers in 2020, fueled Ron DeSantis’ numbers when he was elected,” Walling said.
Walling specifically pointed to both sides needing to meet with Hispanic Floridians one-on-one during their campaign trail, specifically pointing to DeSantis signing the abortion ban in a predominantly Hispanic church.
“We can’t just, again, look at this group as a monolith. We have to dig in and meet people where they are and speak religious language in terms of how we talk about it,” Walling said.
Polling data from the Pew Research Center found that 71% of Latinos in Florida identified as Christian, with 22% saying they were evangelical Protestants and 8% identifying as mainline Protestants.
“Hispanics tend to be very family oriented. A lot of them are Christians. They have strong moral beliefs, many of them pro-life. And even the Democratic Hispanics, I believe, are getting worse and worse. comfortable with the Democratic Party and some of its policies, especially on abortion,” Lynda Bell, president of Florida Right to Life, a Florida-based pro-life legislative organization, said in an interview with Fox News. Digital.
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Abraham Enriquez, president of Bienvenido, a prominent national Hispanic conservative advocacy organization, said the issue of abortion has played a role in how Florida Latinos vote since the 2020 general election.
“In 2020, we saw the Catholic churches really mobilize around this issue, and it had a significant impact on the election. President Trump won 59% of the Catholic vote in Florida, a 5 point improvement over his 2016 performance in a state that was decided by very thin margins,” Enriquez said. “When you consider that about 2/3 of President Trump’s margin growth in the state came from Hispanic voters, there is no doubt that abortion played a significant role in the election.”
Both Enriquez and Bell said that advocacy within the Hispanic community for pro-life legislation and activism has grown since the Dobbs decision, with Enriquez stating that the Dobbs decision “has energized Hispanics”. Bell said she expects a flurry of pro-life legislation after the November election.
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On the other hand, Sopo said the strong religious and pro-life sentiments that Latino voters are assumed to have are misconceptions about voter demographics.
“I think there’s a misconception that Hispanics, because we tend to be more religious than your average white Democrat, are extremely conservative on this issue. Of course, sentiment varies by state and country. community, but overall I would describe the Hispanic stance on abortion as moderate,” Sopo said.
Sopo expects abortion politics probably won’t play a big role in November because of the state’s stance on abortion.
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Tuesday’s primary elections in Florida will include federal, state, county and municipal races. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is running unopposed for the GOP nomination but will face the winner of the Democratic primary in November.
DeSantis’ Democratic challenger will also be determined after Tuesday’s election, with Charlie Crist seen as the likely favorite to win.