Evidence continues to grow that Texas Hispanics are disenchanted with liberals. The 2016 and 2020 election results in South Texas surprised just about everyone and showed a significant rightward shift in historically deep blue counties along the border. And the most recent 2022 Texas primary elections featured a record number of Hispanic Republican candidates, as well as record Hispanic Republican turnout.
Whether Texas Hispanics are becoming more conservative or feeling left behind by today’s Democrat party, the trend is clear. To study more than just whether it is happening but why, the Texas Public Policy Foundation commissioned a statewide survey of Texas Hispanic adults and asked about a range of topics, including policy issues, heritage and culture.
This survey affirms that even Texas Hispanics who self-identify as Democrats are more moderate to conservative. Among the partisan split, 36% were self-identified Democrats, 31% were Independents; and 26% were Republicans. However ideologically, this same group self-identified as 36% moderate; 34% conservative and only 24% liberal. Thus, 12% of Hispanics that self-identified as Democrats were more moderate or conservative than liberal in their views.
For starters, Texas Hispanics had little-to-no association with the Liberal-invented term “Latinx.” Just 3% said they preferred that term to the 68% who prefer Hispanic or Latino.
Hispanic Texans are also very favorable towards America and Texas, generally. Nearly nine out of ten were proud of being American, including 71% of Hispanic Liberals. More than four out of five—83%—agree that the United States is a land of freedom and opportunity, with 72% of Hispanic Liberals also agreeing. And 87% of Hispanics were proud to be Texans.
This might explain why the left’s gloomy and glum picture of America is growing more and more unappealing. President Trump, for all his rhetorical faults, was unapologetically pro-American and it clearly made an impact on Hispanics in the last two presidential elections.
The most vocal leaders on the Left also want Americans to believe that that the country is still deeply racist. But this message gets very little traction among Texas Hispanics. Nearly two-thirds said that they never or rarely experienced racism in their day-to-day lives. They also rejected the “defund the police” movement – with racism as its not-so-subtle subtext—by nearly three to four. A similar percentage of Hispanics said they believed their community was fairly served by local law enforcement. This ranked high across the ideological spectrum with 83% of conservatives, 75% of moderates, and even 60% of liberals.
While President Biden’s job approval was a virtually a tie, with 47% approving and 46% disapproving, nearly a third, 31%, of self-identified Hispanic Liberals disapprove of Biden’s performance in office. When it came to the economy, 68% believed that the current inflation was caused at least partly by bad policies. Even 58% of Hispanic Liberals thought bad policy was at least partly to blame for the current high inflation.
Texas Hispanics appear to care more about the issues that do better for the right than the left. Ranked by importance, the top issues were border security, immigration reform, education, jobs and the economy, and health care. Climate change, a top priority issue for progressives, garnered only 1%. On state issues, 87% of Texas Hispanics said that property tax was a major burden to them and their families. This was the majority sentiment across the board with 80% conservatives, 71% moderates and even 61% liberals.
Even on an issue like education, on which voters generally trust the left, nearly four in five Hispanic adults, 78% overall and over two-thirds of liberals, support school choice. Fully 89% of Hispanics surveyed agreed that parents should have access to materials taught to their children in schools, including 86% of liberals.
Regarding the southern U.S. border, 73% of Hispanics surveyed agreed that there is a crisis at the border. This sentiment was shared across the ideological spectrum, with 87% conservatives, 72% moderates; and even with 56% liberals. Respondents in the South Texas region overwhelmingly agreed that there exists a border crisis by a margin of 80%. When asked about what should be done, 83% of Hispanics thought that border security measures should at least remain the same or be increased—including 69% of liberals.
As the surveyed shows, even Texas Hispanic liberals are moving away from the boilerplate positions of today’s Left. This trend, which is not only confined to Texas, has alarm bells ringing among the liberal punditry. VOX’s Matthew Yglesias was one of the first to write about it shortly after the 2020 presidential election. He warned progressives needed to rethink racial politics. Recently, Ruy Teixeira, Senior Fellow with the Center for American Progress wrote a piece entitled, “The Democrat’s Hispanic Voter Problem. It’s Not as Bad as you think—It’s Worse. “
The data everyone is reading shows clearly that liberals are pushing Texas Hispanics away by either focusing on the wrong issues or supporting the wrong solutions. But trends are just that—they move up and down. So there’s a lesson for conservatives, as well: don’t take anything for granted.