Hispanics now evenly split between parties

In this week's Intelligencer, a new poll shows Hispanics are now evenly split between parties, the “Latinx” label flops with actual Hispanics, an update from the redistricting special session, a prominent New Mexico Democrat walks away from the party, and the PRC finally rules on the Avangrid merger.

The Intelligencer is a weekly newsletter that gives you a quick overview of La Politica across New Mexico and the U.S., covering topics such as policy, current events, the political landscape, and tech.

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Dax Contreras
Executive Director, Hispanos Unidos

1. ‘Latinos are more and more becoming swing voters.…that we’re going to have to fight for.’ - Democratic pollster

Details: A new Wall Street Journal poll finds Hispanic voters are evenly splitting their support between Democrats and Republicans:

One year after giving Democratic House candidates more than 60% of their vote..., 37% of Hispanic voters said they would support the Republican congressional candidate and 37% said they would favor the Democrat, with 22% undecided.

This vote split is remarkable. And the polling results for Democrats get arguably worse in a hypothetical rematch between Biden and Trump:

Hispanic voters were also evenly divided when asked about a hypothetical rematch in 2024...with 44% saying they would back President Biden and 43% supporting former President Donald Trump. In 2020, Mr. Biden won 63% support among Hispanic voters, nearly 30 points more than Mr. Trump.

The big picture: Hispanic voters are one of the fastest-growing groups in the electorate and account for about 1 in 8 eligible voters nationally, compounding Democratic concerns about any deterioration (or a complete collapse) in support. Not surprisingly, the poll showed that economic issues were the main concern among Hispanic voters, especially Hispanic men.

2. Hispanics reject the Left’s “Latinx” label

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Details: According to a new nationwide poll of Hispanic voters "only 2 percent of those polled refer to themselves as Latinx, while 68 percent call themselves 'Hispanic' and 21 percent favored 'Latino' or 'Latina' to describe their ethnic background."

What they’re saying: AZ Congressman Ruben Gallego responded to the “Latinx” label, “To be clear my office is not allowed to use ‘Latinx’ in official communications. When Latino politicos use the term it is largely to appease white rich progressives who think that is the term we use. It is a vicious circle of confirmation bias.”

Fernand Amandi, managing partner of Bendixen & Amandi, the nation's leading multilingual and multiethnic public opinion research and strategic communications consulting firm, tweeted: “The use of Latinx, a term that didn’t exist until recently but has been embraced by @TheDemocrats to describe Hispanics + Latinos, may be doing more harm than good to Dem chances of winning, according to our new poll.”

The big picture: Especially concerning to Democrats was that 40 percent of those polled said "Latinx bothers or offends them to some degree and 30 percent said they would be less likely to support a politician or organization that uses the term." 

While it is unlikely the use of such unpopular (and in some cases offensive) language has single handedly caused the collapse in Hispanic Democrat support noted above, it is clearly emblematic of the Democrat elite and their associated consultant class that are painfully out of touch with the communities they claim to represent.

3. “We're about to find out how aggressive Dems in [New Mexico] are willing to be to purge the last remaining GOP federal officeholders.” – Dave Wasserman (The Cook Political Report)

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The latest: On Wednesday the House advanced a new map for 70-seat chamber despite GOP concerns. The proposal passed the House Judiciary Committee and now advances to the full House for a vote.

On the Senate side, the so-called "Cervantes" map cleared its first committee Wednesday on a party-line vote. Among other changes, the proposed map would add much of the West Side of Albuquerque as well as the South Valley to the 2nd Congressional District.

The big picture: Some national political observers are predicting that the proposed changes to the three U.S. House districts could make it possible for the GOP to take a majority of the seats since two of the districts would be classified as “highly competitive”. Democrats are assuming that strong Hispanic support would make this unlikely, but as our earlier stories highlight, assuming Hispanic Democrat support appears more and more foolish.

4. NM Democrat Senator announces he’s Walking Away from Democratic Party

Details: The Redistricting Special session opened with a big announcement by left-wing Democrat Senator Jacob Candelaria that he changed his party affiliation from Democrat to “Declined To State [Party Affiliation] (DTS),” citing “partisan virus” that’s infected the Democrat Party.

As a result: Senate Democrats will now outnumber Republicans 26-15. Meanwhile, the Cook Political Report shows the re-election of Michelle Lujan Grisham as governor has swung from “Solid Democratic” to “Likely Democratic.” Clearly, MLG's polling strength is not as solid as it once was; a recent poll showed MLG underwater and below 50 percent approval rating.

The big picture: Democrats have big branding problem because Americans don’t think they are focused on issues that matter to them, especially concerns around inflation and the economy. According to a report by Democrat pollster, Brian Stryker, Democrats have no solutions to the problems average people are facing and show no empathy for parents and children who were locked out of schools.

5. PRC rejects PNM/Avangrid merger as new $110 million lawsuit filed

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Details: The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission denied the merger between Avangrid and Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) on Wednesday.

Background: Contrary to the wishes of many of the New Mexico political elite, environmental dark money groups, and $1 million advertising blitz, the PRC did their due diligence and found the energy giant's spotty track record was not in the best interest of New Mexico. New Mexicans have previously raised concerns over Avangrid’s parent company, Iberdrola – and two of the Iberdrola defendants named in the lawsuit have been under investigation by Spanish officials for fraud and corporate espionage.

Late last month, a cybersecurity company filed a 72 page, $110 million lawsuit accusing the Spanish giant multinational corporation global energy giant Iberdrola and its “U.S. subsidiary Avangrid of bid-rigging and racketeering” in a billion dollar scheme to bilk its customers in New York, Connecticut and Maine out of millions of dollars in wasteful equipment, much of which is collecting dust in warehouses.

In a statement, PNM said that it is examining all of its options and will wait to review the final commission order before taking subsequent steps. Connecticut-based Avangrid also issued a statement following the vote expressing disappointment with the decision.