A Look at North Carolina’s Latino Voters (Part 2)

May 31, 2022

Last week, we released Part 1 of our deep-dive polling on North Carolina’s Latino voters. That release covered the U.S. Senate race, top issues for these voters, views on the 2020 election and more. Today, we’re releasing Part 2, in which we asked these voters where they come down on a range of issues facing North Carolina and the country as a whole.

As a refresher, Latino voters are the fastest-growing constituency in North Carolina’s electorate. Over the last decade, this population has grown 40%, to well over a million residents in the state. Importantly for our politics, North Carolina’s Latino voters are also much younger than the general population, and large numbers are aging into not just eligible voting age, but also their prime voting years.

In partnership with Enlace Latino NC and the New North Carolina Project, Carolina Forward commissioned Change Research to poll eligible and likely Latino voters across the state. Here’s what they told us.

Socially, Economically Center-Left

On several key social and economic issues, North Carolina’s Latino voters are generally left-of-center to moderate.

Voters in this poll demonstrated solid support abortion rights. A full 74% support keeping abortion legal, including a plurality (43%) who agree with the decision personally. Less than half of that, only 1 in 5 of these voters, thinks abortion should be illegal. More than half of Republican Latino voters agrees that abortion should remain legal:

This level of support puts Latino voters slightly to the left of the mainstream of North Carolina's general electorate, which consistently supports abortion rights.

The same orientation towards personal freedom extends to marriage rights as well. A supermajority of Latino voters, and young ones most of all, believe that same-sex marriage should remain legal. Even Republican Latino voters are almost equally split on the issue:

With union organizing quickly accelerating around the country (even in North Carolina), more and more workers are considering collective bargaining as a tool to rebalance power between themselves and corporate management. Latino voters appear quite open to unionization. A plurality (46%) say they'd be "very" or "somewhat" likely to join a union in their own workplace, with younger workers particularly open to the idea:

Citizenship, Licenses, Medicaid

By a 3-to-1 margin, Latino voters agree that undocumented migrants should be given a pathway to legal citizenship. We find net support for such a pathway in every single measured Latino voter cohort, including Republicans:

On this issue, Latino voters are once again consistent with the general voter population, which also supports a pathway to citizenship by solid - though narrower - margins.

Particularly among the immigrant community, driver's licenses have been a major issue for years. Undocumented immigrants are currently unable to legally obtain a driver's license in North Carolina, which presents a serious public safety risk. Several Democrats in the General Assembly have introduced bills that would permit undocumented immigrants to obtain a legal driver's license, but those attempts have failed in the Republican-controlled legislature.

By another large margin, Latino voters overwhelmingly support letting undocumented migrants obtain a legal driver's license:

Lastly, Medicaid expansion has been a perennial issue in North Carolina politics for the last decade-plus. There is now widespread consensus that Medicaid expansion is the right policy for the state. Not only have 39 other states (plus D.C.) done it successfully, but North Carolina's own rural healthcare system is badly strained without the resources expansion would offer. Even stubborn Republican opposition has begun to soften under the weight of the evidence.

Latino voters again overwhelmingly support expanding Medicaid. It wins outright majority support in all measured voter cohorts but one, and even among Republican Latino voters, it still wins net-positive support:

Latino voters, and its younger voters most of all, have yet to fall into a consistent voting pattern from one cycle to the next. They are far from monolithic as a group, and both parties will have to work hard to woo them. Nevertheless, that job appears much harder for one side than another.

Read full toplines and crosstabs from the poll release here.

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