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Election exposes generational divide among Hispanic voters

UTSA expert: Hispanics not 'monolithic voting group'

SAN ANTONIO – The author of several books on Latino politics, Dr. Sharon Navarro, a UTSA associate professor of political science, said the presidential election reinforced what she has seen — a generational divide among Hispanic voters.

“Until they begin to understand that you can’t lump Latinos into one monolithic voting group, you’re not going to win that vote, and you’re not going to drive them to come out to vote,” Navarro said.

Navarro said Hillary Clinton’s strong showing among a record number of Hispanics, up by 26 percent, could have been even stronger if her campaign had studied the polling data.

“How the Democratic Party missed it is astonishing,” Navarro said.

Navarro said parents and grandparents who are first generation consider the economy and immigration reform as priorities.

“Are you better off now than you were eight years ago? Many Latinos are not,” Navarro said.

Navarro said older Hispanics also are more likely to know someone trying to earn legalization.

“Second and third generations don’t consider it important,” she said, because they’re farther removed from the issue.

However, the UTSA professor said most Hispanics look at the likability of presidential candidates. She said 45 percent of younger Hispanics, including millennials, voted for Donald Trump, compared to 17 percent of older Hispanics.

Navarro said overall, Hispanics have the same issues and concerns as the rest of the country.

“Pollsters think Latinos have a different agenda,” she said.

Navarro said demographics among Hispanics are changing.

“The sooner pollsters and scholars understand there’s a cultural divide in the Latino community, the better understanding (they'll have of) how to message to Latino voters," she said.