Latino voters in Colorado overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates in that election, contributing to the collapse of the state’s so-called “red wave.”
The Colorado Latino Exit Poll found that 72% of respondents voted Democrat in congressional elections — including in the new 8th congressional district, which is nearly 40% Latino. In CD 8, 75% of respondents supported Democrat Yadira Caraveo over Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer. Caraveo narrowly defeated Kirkmeyer by less than 2,000 votes, or 0.73 percentage points.
The Exit poll, the first of its kind in Colorado, surveyed 531 Latino voters statewide from Oct. 10 to Nov. 8 with an oversampling in CD 8.
“The Latino electorate is very influential in Colorado and nowhere is that more evident than in Congressional District 8, which has the largest concentration of Latino voters in the state,” said Gabe Sanchez of BSP Research, who conducted the survey. “Latinos supported the candidate from their own community at even higher rates than the state’s overall Democratic vote and helped lead Yadira Caraveo into Congress.”
The poll also found that 72% of respondents voted for the Democratic nominee in their Senate races and 71% voted for Democrats in their House races. That comes as the Democrats increased their grip on the state legislature in this election, winning two Senate seats and five House seats to achieve a historic 69-31 split between Democrats and Republicans.
Another 70% of respondents said they had voted for Democrats for re-election for US Senator Michael Bennet and Gov. Jared Polis. Support for Democrats in other national races — secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general — varied between 58% and 65%.
Latino voters supported the following voting measures by a margin of 3 to 1: Proposition 121 to reduce Colorado’s state income tax rate, Proposition 123 to fund affordable housing programs, Amendment FF to provide free lunches to all public school students, and Amendment GG to include the income-based amendment for Taxpayers on voting initiatives that change state income tax rates. All four of these measures were passed.
“During this midterm election, Latinas and Latinos showed that we are more than just a swing vote; We’re a voice that matters year-round,” said Dusti Gurule, President and CEO of the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR). “That’s what happens when you invest in and collaborate with the community from the ground up.”
As of 2020, 21.9% of Colorado’s population identified as Hispanic or Latino, according to census results — the highest proportion since the 1870s. However, the political strength of Latino voters has not grown with their population, with Latinos making up just 11% of Colorado voters in the 2020 presidential election and 2018 midterm election, according to data from Univision.
But activists say that’s changing as local groups work to increase voter turnout among Latino Coloradans, including Voces Unidas, Colorado Latinos Vote and COLOR. The Office of the Secretary of State does not collect data on the race or ethnicity of voters, so it is not currently known how many Latino voters were elected this year.
The Colorado Latino Exit Poll is part of a research initiative by Voces Unidas de las Montañas, the Voces Unidas Action Fund, COLOR and the COLOR Action Fund. It is to be carried out every two years from now on.