2020 Post-Mortem (Part One): Portrait of a Persuadable Latino


The 2020 elections were a reminder of the diversity — including ideological diversity — of Latino voters. The results of 2020 challenge some facile assumptions about the Latino vote, and speak to the dangers of taking an overly simplistic view of any demographic group in the electorate.


The headline for this phase of our post-mortem:

in 2020, a segment of Latino voters demonstrated that they are “swingier” than commonly assumed

Admittedly, the idea that Latinos should be treated as persuadable voters, not mobilization targets, is a bit of a hobby horse for Equis: we’ve been vocal on that point. But even we were surprised by some of the ways in which the potential volatility of our voters manifest as actual swings and, especially, by which voters appeared to have swung the most.

1. From a Monolith to a Diverse Voting Bloc

The results were a reminder both that Latinos aren’t a monolith, and that we remain a group. Trump gains were indeed more pronounced in Miami and the Rio Grande Valley, two Hispanic electorates that are in many ways different from each other. And yet, those who swung in Florida and Texas, and in other, far-flung places — whether in California, Pennsylvania or Massachusetts — seemed to be linked together across geography and place of origin by their Latino identity.

2. Voters on the Margins of the Electorate

Trump’s largest gains happened, we believe, in the last year of his term, and our polling suggests those gains happened among voters usually on the sidelines of politics.

3. Not Turnout or Persuasion — Both

Some analysis makes the mistake of treating the Hispanic electorate as static from election to election, when in fact it is incredibly dynamic and fast-changing. This is a story of both turnout and persuasion, and how those concepts crash together.

4. Setting Up the “Why”

While the “why” of this shift requires more investigation, part of the story appears to be that the barrier keeping some conservative Latinos from voting for Trump went down during COVID, with a change in focus from his anti-Latino or anti-immigrant positions to other concerns, including the economy.


This is Part One of our post-mortem.


The 2019–2020 research cited in the report was conducted by Equis Research (Carlos Odio, Rachel Stein, Krystal Ortiz, Melissa Morales) in partnership with GBAO (Michelle Mayorga), the team at BSP Research (Matt Barreto, Sylvia Manzano, Gabe Sanchez), EMC Research (Jane Rayburn), GSG (Marissa Padilla), Myers Research (Andrew Myers & Lauren Spangler), and TargetSmart (Ben Lazarus).

That’s all for now.

Stay tuned.



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Equis Research

Equis Research

Creating a better understanding of the Latino electorate