What swayed Latino voters? The answer(s) might surprise you.

On November 8th I waited eagerly for the results to start coming in — marking the end of the 2016 Presidential Election. Like others who anticipated this day after a long grueling election year, I too thought I knew who my fellow Americans would select to be the next leader of the United States. Now as we approach 2017 with a new President-elect, I find myself still confused by the election results as they revealed how divided our nation truly stands.

It was determined early on that Latinos would play a significant role in the outcome of this election…and they have! According to the Pew Research Center, 27.3 million Latinos were eligible to cast their ballot.

It’s no secret that Latinos were highly motivated to contribute to this year’s election.

The wall, countless headlines and tweets expressing the Republican Nominee’s animosity towards immigrants, especially Mexicans, have equally contributed to making Latinos a target of controversy in this election. Although it was predicted that President-elect Trump would overwhelmingly lose the Latino vote, results from exit polls show that he captured a robust 28%. Whether you take the exit polls at face value or not, there is evidence that indicates contrasting perspectives in the Latino voting bloc.

It is easy to bundle Latinos into a conveniently unified bloc as was demonstrated by both presidential candidates. However, by communicating a message to a group as a single entity, individual opinion, perspective and decisions lose their value. What was the motivation behind the Latino vote? To answer this question, we must consider each factor that affected their decision. While Latinos share many cultural values, there are significant differences among them which are often overlooked. Like the general population, Latinos are influenced by generation, class, gender and national origin. Identifying what motivates these groups is key to understand their voting behavior.

Generation: Experience Influenced Perspectives

The Clinton campaign made an effort to try to appeal to both younger and older Latinos by making Hillary out to be your abuela. Did it work? By simply translating a few choice words into Spanish, the message might as well have been “I am nothing like your abuela.” For many first-generation Latinos who have immigrated to the USA, their identity is influenced more strongly by the culture of their homeland, and ultimately influences their decision as American voters. For instance, due to their experience as immigrants, first generation American Latinos have a stronger opinion on immigration than their more liberal children and grandchildren, who may see it more abstractly and less personal. However, these opinions are hardly reflected by the Clinton campaign’s article.

Does speaking Spanish sway Latino voters? Evidence proves that voter decisions are more complex than that. Even though you may be speaking the same language, they might not be connecting with your intended message. Don’t just translate, transcreate! Transcreation is the key to effectively communicating to the Latino market.

Class: Immigration and Low Income Latino Voters

Evidence given by polling results from Politico and CNN indicate a difference of opinion between rural and urban Hispanic voters. The data shows that rural Southwestern counties with large Hispanic populations had a stronger support for Trump. What was their motivation behind their decision? A closer look at these counties will reveal that they are some of the poorest in their state. In contrast to the majority who stand strongly against Trump’s position on immigration, there is an underlying fear of losing jobs to undocumented workers among lower income Latinos according to Helen Marrow, Tufts University Sociologist specializing in Latino immigration to the rural South.

It was assumed that this group would vote for Hillary because of Trump’s anti-immigrant views. However, his tough talk on economic issues resonated with this group as they perceive many of the same economic challenges as rural whites.

Gender: The Latina Power in Politics

Latinas have been a strong presence in the election process with greater registration rates than their male counterparts since 1992. Their share in the female voting bloc has increased by nearly 6 million voters in this election alone according to a study done by Fulfilling America’s Future.

What motivates Latinas to be actively involved in politics? They take pride in giving a voice to their families and community while supporting a candidate that best represents their values. MamásConPoder and #WeAllGrow Latina Network joined forces to campaign and raise awareness to the candidate positions on the issues that affect Latina moms and their families.

Through the disparaging remarks of both women and Latinos throughout the Republican campaign, there is no question as to why tracking poll results consistently showed an overwhelming support of Clinton by Latinas. When asked whether they believed Trump would bring the kind of change America needs in Washington, expert research firm Latino Decisions found that 79% of Latinas disagreed compared to 65% of Latinos. The overwhelming opposition shows that efforts by the Republican candidate to connect directly with Latinas failed even more so than Latinos in general.

More about Latinas:

National Origin: The Cuban-American Perspective

Democrats “talked the talk” through the glorification of Tim Kaine’s ability to speak Spanish, but their message missed the mark for many Cuban Americans in Florida. According to Pew Research, about half of the Cuban Latino vote went to Trump, contributing to the Democratic defeat in a key battleground state. What was their motivation? Trump understood the relationship between many Cuban Americans and their native country and used this to his advantage. While Clinton supported Obama’s efforts to build ties between Cuba and the U.S., Trump spoke to the frustration of Cuban voters by promising to “stand with the Cuban people in their fight against Communist oppression.”

It is important to understand that Latinos represent a variety of geographic and ethnic backgrounds. Although many take pride in their national origin, it is important to consider the relationship they have with their home country and how much it influences their identity and in turn, their vote.

This election is an example of how identifying and understanding the differences in perspectives within the Latino community can help marketers appropriately communicate their message. If these factors influenced both of the political campaigns, how would they influence marketing campaigns targeting the Latino community?

What do you think affected the Latino vote? We want to hear from you!
Need to grow your brand among Latinos? Vias will help you identify your audience and improve your message! Connect with us and connect with your target market.