Latinas and the 2016 Elections: Findings from a National Survey of Hispanic Women

A recent poll of Latina voters commissioned by American Women, Voto Latino Action Network, and iAmerica Action[1] highlights the important role of Hispanic women in this year’s presidential elections. Latinas express more enthusiasm for voting in the 2016 elections than in the 2014 mid-term elections, driven by very polarized feelings about the political parties and candidates. These women are strongly positive toward Hillary Clinton and Democrats; meanwhile, they view Donald Trump very hostilely, not surprising in the wake of his incendiary rhetoric on immigration.

Latinas face a great deal of stress around money and family, with a diverse set of concerns that covers not only economic challenges but also family and balancing their responsibilities at work and at home. While Latinas, and particularly millennial Latinas, are more likely to report earning less than $15 an hour, these women are optimistic about their future financial situation. They want to support candidates whose policy agenda will allow them to achieve a bright future, including equal pay, college affordability, paid sick days and family leave, and reproductive rights. 

There are opportunities to communicate with Latina voters about these issues in ways that do a better job of reaching them in the places they find information and the sources they trust. Latinas trust news journalists—particularly in the Spanish-language community—to provide information about politics and issues, whereas other voters rely more on a mix of news journalists and word of mouth from family and friends. And while these women use the internet, they are on the go and not in front of computers getting information; more than half of Latinas get news and information on their mobile or smartphone, a number that jumps to 81 percent among millennial Latinas.

The following are key findings from a national telephone survey of 400 Latina registered voters conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. The survey was run in parallel with an online survey of 800 registered voters nationally.

Latinas express stronger intention to vote than in 2014 elections

Latinas have an opportunity to be a key bloc in this year’s elections. In this survey, 59 percent of Latinas report voting in 2014; now, nearly 81 percent say they are “almost certain” to vote in 2016.

These women come to this election with very polarized feelings toward the political parties and candidates at the top of the ticket. Latinas express strong favorable feelings for the Democratic Party, President Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton alike, while white men and women view them negatively. At the same time, Latinas hold a negative view of the Republican Party generally, but reserve their harshest sentiments for the presumptive Republican nominee. An overwhelming 84 percent of Latinas view Trump negatively.


In face of a variety of economic and family concerns, Latinas remain optimistic about the future

This poll reveals some stark realities about the challenges facing Latinas every day:


However, in spite of these economic and personal challenges, Latinas remain hopeful about their situation and about the future. Eighty-three percent of Latinas say their personal or family’s financial system is doing very well (15 percent) or fairly well (68 percent). When it comes to looking ahead, a majority of Latinas (59 percent) believe their financial situation will get better over the next five years, on par with the broader electorate. Millennial Latinas are the most optimistic, with more than three-quarters who say their financial situation will get better over the next five years.


Overwhelming support for immigration reform policies among Latinas

Not surprisingly, strong majorities of Latinas favor policies that would not only allow undocumented immigrants to stay in the country and gain legal resident status, but also provide a path to citizenship. Two-thirds of Latinas strongly favor a path to citizenship, with more than nine out of ten (92 percent) favoring the policy overall. Just 13 percent of Latinas support building a fence along the border with Mexico; 83 percent oppose the plan.


Latinas show intense support for pay equality, college affordability, and reproductive health policies

Given the concerns facing Latinas and their hope for the future, it is not surprising that they strongly favor candidates who advocate for college affordability, pay equality, and paid sick and paid family leave in the workplace. The intensity of support is notable here, with nearly 8 out of 10 Latinas who say they would be “much more likely” to support a candidate for elected office who took these positions.


Latinas also strongly support policies to protect women’s reproductive health, with large majorities more likely to vote for a candidate who will protect women’s access to birth control and abortion. This includes 69 percent of Latinas under the age of 50 and 54 percent of older Latinas. Likewise, half of Latinas say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports defunding Planned Parenthood and passing a ban on abortion.

Most Latinas receive political news via smartphones and English-language news, but express strong trust and favorability for Spanish-language news

Latinas turn to smartphones more often than the broader electorate for political news, with 58 percent of Latinas saying they use a smartphone or mobile device to look at political news, compared to 37 percent of voters overall. Among millennial Latinas, the vast majority, 81 percent, use a smartphone or mobile device to look at political news.  

However, television also remains an important source of information as one-quarter of Latinas still get political news from television. And while 91 percent of Latinas report that they spend half or more of their television viewing English language programs, they report strong trust and favorability in news journalists generally and Spanish-language outlets like Univision and reporters like Jorge Ramos in particular. Latinas point to news journalists twice as much as any other source of information on news and politics; 40 percent say they trust and listen to news journalists most, with the next most trusted sources being family, friends, and coworkers.

Latinas have the opportunity to be a critical voting bloc in 2016. They face many economic and family challenges, but are optimistic about their future and want candidates for office to help them by pursuing a policy agenda that will help them turn their hopes into reality, including college affordability, pay equality, and reproductive rights.

For a downloadable PDF version, please click here.

[1] Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research conducted a national online survey of 800 registered voters. The survey was conducted from April16-19, 2016. At the same time, GQRR conducted a parallel telephone survey of 400 Hispanic women.  Forty-two percent of this sample was reached on a cell phone.  All interviews were carried out via telephone by bilingual interviewers, and conducted in the preferred language of the survey respondent, English or Spanish. The phone survey is subject to a margin of error of +/-  4.9 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence interval.


Our Voices