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Hispanics in Colorado are pessimistic about political parties, study says

Citing discontent with both parties and concerns about the economy, some unregistered Hispanics in Colorado may choose not to register to vote before November.

COLORADO, USA — Given their discontent with both political parties and concern over the economy, unregistered Hispanics in Colorado may choose not to register to vote before November, according to a study released Tuesday by Emerson College Polling. 

Unlocking the Hispanic Vote is a research initiative that uses focus groups and surveys to better understand Hispanic attitudes and beliefs toward policy issues, voting, politics, and media.  

The study found that non-registered residents surveyed said they were split on whether or not their vote mattered, with 41% agreeing that their vote will change nothing and 43% disagreeing. 

Those between the ages of 18 and 24 were most likely to agree that their vote would change nothing, at 60%, the study says. 

“I mean, I don't want to [register to vote],” a 22-year-old non-registered citizen said in the study. “It's not gonna really change a whole lot, more of the change comes from the local level if you really wanna change something.”

Some also expressed feeling undervalued by both political parties.

“I think everyone kind of wants a token, like, ‘Okay, we get that Hispanic vote,’ or, ‘Let's just, make sure we've got the identity part’ ... Like, the identity politics of the Latinos there,’ but, not necessarily, looking into all the issues that some of the Latino people would care about. I think sometimes it comes back to wanting to tell you what you need,” a 31-year-old Independent female voter said in the study.

RELATED: Report lays out top issues for Latinos in Colorado

Unregistered citizens were also asked what might change their minds about registering and 40% said they might be motivated to register if they were more informed, the survey says.

“I just never really understood how the voting process worked,” a 39-year-old female non-registered citizen said in the study. “How I see it is I didn't go to school fully…even then I didn't really understand…in reality, what votes [do] they take into consideration and whose vote actually counts?"  

Although the respondents reported feeling neither positive nor negative regarding the Democratic or Republican parties, the survey results showed that Hispanic voters aligned more strongly with the Democratic Party on issues such as abortion, immigration and the economy.

“When I think about the Democrats I think social programs, a lot of freedom of expression, more liberal[ism], they focus more on minorities,” a 51-year-old male voter and father of seven daughters says in the study, “Republicans are more capitalist, more conservative, possibly less taxes or at least more break in taxes for the rich, but I also think more wars."

However, frustration was expressed by the respondents regarding costs associated with Democratic programs and unfulfilled campaign promises, "a lot of promises to reform things, but nothing really happens,” a 62-year-old woman in a voter focus group said in the study.

The survey found that the most pressing issues that Hispanics in Colorado identified facing their community are economic problems like rising costs. 

“Food is becoming more expensive,” a 55-year-old woman said in the study, “I think about the families that are making that minimum wage, how they are affording food right now.”

The cost of housing was the second most pressing issue followed by Fentanyl overdoses which concerned participants across all focus groups. 

“There's people here who have been trying to save up for years, they needed $10,000 to buy a house, now they need $30,000, and it's still not enough,” a 62-year-old voter said.

The survey of Hispanic citizens in Colorado was conducted in April and was based on 473 registered voters and 310 non-registered citizens in Colorado. 

Three in-person focus groups were conducted of participants of Hispanic ethnicity in Denver on May 2 and 3, 2022.

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