During Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States, we are looking at the all-important Latino vote, which is shaping up to be pivotal to the 2020 Presidential election this November. At this late stage, it’s still an open question whether most Hispanics will cast a ballot for Joe Biden or Donald Trump.

Our Hispanic to Latinx study, conducted in the summer of 2019, offers some insight as to what political candidates can do to earn Latino votes at the ballot box this year:

  • Recognize Hispanic diversity. While it’s common to think of Hispanics as a monolithic group, in fact they are tremendously diverse. Some were born in the US and some came from Latin America or the Caribbean. Their countries of origin are vastly different from each other. The US has its own regional cultures that are an additional influence on Latinos’ cultural identities. And last but not least, their language preferences vary, with some preferring English, others preferring Spanish, and most using a mix of the two in their everyday lives.
  • Avoid negative stereotypes. According to our survey, 77% of Hispanics 13 to 49 feel that most non-Hispanics have a lot of misperceptions about Hispanic people and 83% feel that some people in the US do not see Hispanics as American.
  • Focus on kitchen table issues like the economy, healthcare, education – and don’t assume immigration is the top issue. Assuming that all Hispanics share a collective opinion about immigration or that it’s the issue they care about most are additional misperceptions that can turn potential voters off. Our study found that immigration was the #1 issue among those born outside the US. For US-born Latinos, however, it was a lower concern than other issues. The top issues at the time were healthcare, education, racism against all minorities, employment, and the economy. More recently, a Pew Hispanic Center survey from September revealed that Hispanics’ most important election issues are similar to all Americans: the economy, healthcare, the coronavirus, racial and ethnic inequality, violent crime, and Supreme Court appointments.
  • Celebrate the fact that Latinos are part of the fabric of American culture and society. One thing Hispanics can agree on is the impact they’ve had on the US, with 85% believing that Hispanics have had a big influence on American culture. From food to music to sports to everyday people who work hard to make the engine of the United States run, Hispanics have left an indelible mark. The difference they’ve made deserves be celebrated – and candidates that give recognition to Hispanics’ contributions might just earn their votes.