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Exit poll highlights how some Hispanics and Latinos voted in Colorado

Progressive organizations polled more than 500 Hispanic and Latino voters to gain a better understanding of how they voted.

DENVER — Christina Soliz describes election cycles with a hint of laughter.

"It never ends," she said. "A friend told me that elections are a lifestyle, not just [an] every other year thing now."

The political director for COLOR Action Fund and her team have been busy. The progressive organization has been surveying Latino and Hispanic voters across Colorado to get a better read on how many are turning out, as well as what they filled in on the ballot. 

"People view Latinos as a monolith and a single issue voter. And that's not the case. We're not swing votes," Soliz said. 

Along with Voces Unidas de las Montañas, COLOR also released a survey that gives insight into the most important issues identified by Latinos in Colorado this past fall. 

In July, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State's Office in Colorado explained to 9NEWS that their office doesn’t track voter turnout by race and ethnicity for privacy reasons.

Just after Election Day (Nov. 8), the two organizations released an exit poll to help highlight how some of those voters voted.

"I think one big takeaway from this exit poll was that Latino voters that we surveyed voted their values and they voted for ways to better impact their communities this year," Soliz said.

Credit: Luis de Leon
Christina Soliz, the political director for COLOR Action Fund.

Survey findings

Through interviews conducted over the phone and online - as well as in English or Spanish - the organizations were able to survey 531 Latino voters across the state, which included an oversample of voters who live in the newly-drawn Congressional District 8. 

Democratic candidate Yadira Caraveo won in a very tight race. 

The survey was conducted from Oct. 24 through Nov. 8, where 65% of those surveyed self-identified as Democrats, 16% Republican and 17% unaffiliated. 

For ideology, 44% self-identified as liberal, 36% moderate and 20% conservative. 

Latinos in Colorado voted for what the groups called "key ballot issues" at a 3-1 margin, and for Democratic candidates at a 2-1 margin. 

The exit poll also concluded that Latino support played a factor in Caraveo's win in CD-8.

"In September 2022, the Colorado Latino Policy Agenda poll found that Latinos value being able to elect other Latinos into office, and with the opportunity to vote for Latina Dr. Yadira Caraveo, Latinos in CD-8 did so in large numbers, with 75% support. Given that Caraveo won with 48% of the overall vote, high Latino support was what pushed her over the top," the exit poll presentation reads. 

The poll also showed ideology shifts that have occurred since 2020. 

24% said they were more conservative now, 19% said they were more liberal, and more than half, 52%, said their ideology has not changed. 

To view more findings and the full report, click here.

Credit: Luis de Leon
A ballot drop box location in Denver.

A closer look

Ernesto Sagas has been a professor of ethnic studies at Colorado State University for around 15 years.

His most recent research is on race, ethnicity, transnational politics, Latino politics, Latinos in Colorado and more. 

While he believes the findings in the exit poll are not surprising, he also believes that are several factors that go into it. 

Specifically when it comes to Congressional District 8 he believes there are a couple caveats with whether or not Latinos made the difference. 

"But I wouldn't be surprised that if we do more detailed polling, we see that, for example, many Latinos voted Republican particularly in Weld county, where they are multi-generational, where they are third or fourth generation Latino," he said. "Latinos felt that there was a lot at stake in this election, not only, obviously, the importance of inflation and the economy, but again - I'm not gonna say this was the case for Kirkmeyer - she was actually, for a Republican in Colorado, she was quite moderate. But we have all the extremist candidates are running for office across the nation, in particular here in the state of Colorado. So perhaps not necessarily confined to Congressional District 8, but statewide, there was a lot at stake for Latinos and others in this election here in Colorado."

Nationally speaking, he believes Latino Coloradans fell into a similar category of which issues mattered to them. 

"They were concerned about the economy," he said. "Though they didn't necessarily punish President Biden. They didn't necessary associate Caraveo with Biden. And she's a fresh figure. She's a new face."

Overall, he believes there will be a clearer picture next election. 

"We should not be reading too much into it," he said. Let's see what happens in two more years."

In the meantime, Soliz says they will continue to interact with voters and working in upcoming municipal elections. 

"To make sure that we continue to get Latino turnout up and our community engaged in the political process," she said.

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