It has come to my attention that Biden has underperformed Democrats' usual margins with Hispanic voters. He won their votes (as a group, remember: Hispanics are not a monolith and come from different countries & cultures) handily, but not by as wide of a margin as Democrats had in the past since at least 2012.

One interesting trend that I noticed that happened in mostly Hispanic districts was that House Democratic incumbents did better than Biden. I know this is using mostly Texas Hispanics (those voted to the right of the national average among Hispanics/Latinos), but in the California district the same pattern is also evident.

There are six congressional districts that meet my criteria. Pay attention to the fourth column because this is where that information is coming from.

House districts with 70% Hispanic or more that are Dem represented in 2021-23 congress and not uncontested

District Biden Margin House D Margin House-Prez. diff % Hispanic
TX-15 2 3 1 83
TX-16 34 30 -4 82
TX-28 5 19 14 79
TX-29 33 44 11 76
TX-20 29 31 2 71
CA-20 47 53 6 70
Mean 25 30 5 77

I've been wondering what exactly caused it. Trump has been accused of running an anti-immigrant campaign, and yet Florida was one of the three states Trump won out of six states that shifted towards Trump (when accounting for third parties). (Florida is different because of its Cuban population which voted Republican in the past, swung towards Obama, and now swung heavily against Biden.)

I think the most plausible explanation is the pandemic, but I just want an objective confirmation.

In other words, why did it seem that there was a lot of Trump+Dem. ticket splitting among Hispanics, or at least most heavily Hispanic areas?

  • Related: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/60884/…. I decided not to delete the question because it is different. California as a whole is not a heavily Hispanic area compared to the districts listed in the question. And, even though some Republicans narrowly won their seats back when they lost in 2018, the state trended more Democratic than 2016 and shifted less than the national average in 2020 vs 2018, and that shift was even smaller than for president in 2016, also tying into this. – Number File Dec 16 '20 at 19:09
  • Trump is famously against the covid-combating shutdowns that have an outsized impact on service workers. It's hard to convince someone facing unemployment and eviction to vote their long-term economic interests. – dandavis Dec 16 '20 at 23:02

This is perhaps a somewhat simplistic view on the voting habits of Hispanic Americans, but of the Districts you listed:

All of the 5 Texas representatives are themselves Hispanic. Again, a bit simplistic, but I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that Hispanic Americans are more likely to ignore/forgive some policy/belief differences for a fellow Hispanic American than for an 'old white guy' in Joe Biden. Interestingly, one of the closest of the races in these districts was in TX-15, where the Republican candidate was a Hispanic-American woman.

(Jimmy Panetta is not Hispanic, but he was up against an essentially unknown Republican candidate and won with like 80% of his district's vote - maybe not an overly useful example)

Also worth noting, all 6 of these races were won by the incumbents. Perhaps, given the pandemic, there was some bias towards 'stability' ('the devil you know'), especially among minority communities who have been impacted severely by the economic situation. This could account for votes that went to Trump over Biden in the Presidential race, despite those same people voting Democrat further down the ticket.


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