As Republicans close the voter registration gap nationwide, overtaking Democrats in many states, they’ve also been making gains among minority voters. According to recent polling from The New York Times and Siena College, the generic ballot may be the closest it has been in recent history.
CNN’s recent analysis shows while the generic congressional ballot puts Democrats ahead by 25-points among voters of color and down by 10-points with white voters, the resulting 35-point racial gap is the smallest divide in this century. 2020 exit polling showed the racial gap was 63-points. Meanwhile, in 2004, the best year for Republicans since the turn of the century, the gap was 55-points. Today’s numbers show a movement of 20-points toward Republicans from 2004, and 28-points moving to the GOP in the last two years.
Among voters of color, the biggest shift toward Republicans is among Hispanic and “Other” voters, which includes Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The movement with Hispanic voters puts Democrats up only 41%-38%, a historically small advantage that’s likely to affect the outcome of elections in tight races in border states like Arizona, New Mexico, California, and Texas.
Much of this shift is likely due to the impact of the Biden Administration’s economic policies on working class families. In the Times poll, 62% of those who said economic/inflation issues were the most important issue facing the country today identified as Republican.
The GOP’s historic advances with voters of color must not be taken for granted. Republicans have to continue messaging that affirms the decision of these voters to cross the aisle. Once Republicans regain the majority, the GOP must focus on providing answers to their problems and concerns.