Latino Voters and the 2020 Nevada Caucuses

Latinos are one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the nation and are a large part of the Democratic primary electorate, in fact, they comprise 17% of the 2020 Nevada caucusgoers. The Edison Research entrance polls for the 2020 Nevada caucuses are the first opportunity in this year’s Democratic primary calendar to take an in depth look at who Latino voters are, what they care about, and which candidates they support. Here are some insights from the entrance poll.

Bernie Sanders won among Latinos.

Bernie Sanders’ efforts to win the support of Latino voters paid off: he won this group by a large margin. No other candidate came close to Sanders’ support among Latinos.


Many are young, and new to the caucus process.

The Latino population in the U.S. is young (39% of U.S. Latinos are under age 30) and, according to the entrance polls, Latinos who attended the caucuses in Nevada were young. Fifty-five percent were under age 45, compared to 37% of voters as a whole. Thirty-two percent were under age 30, almost double the 17% that age among all attendees.

As they were in 2016, young Latino caucus attendees were strong Sanders supporters this year; 67% under age 45 supported Sanders (similar to the 70% he won among this group in 2016). But among older Latino attendees, Sanders’ support was much smaller, with Joe Biden close on his heels (27%).

In part because they are younger, Latino caucus goers were also more apt to be participating in the caucuses for the first time compared to voters overall. 61% of Latino voters said they had not attended a caucus before; 50% of attendees overall were new to the caucuses.

More than half of these first time Latino voters supported Sanders.

Issues matter nearly as much to Latinos as electability, and they are strong supporters of single payer health insurance

While more Latino voters prefer a candidate who can beat Donald Trump (54%) over one who agrees with them on the issues (45%), Latinos are more likely than voters overall to say the candidate’s issue positions are their priority.

And like all Nevada caucus goers, the issue Latinos most cared about was health care, which led the list of important issues facing the country. 50% of Latino caucus attendees said it was most important, surpassing climate change, income inequality and foreign policy.

Single-payer health care is popular among these Latino caucus attendees; 77% said they support replacing all private health insurance with a single government plan for everyone. In comparison, a smaller 62% majority of caucus attendees overall said they support single payer.

They are more likely to have reported living in a household in which there is a union member. Thirty-three percent of Latino caucusgoers in Nevada belonged to a Union household compared to 24% of all caucusgoers who belong to a Union household. In a state with a large portion of its workforce in the hospitality industry, union membership is a factor in electoral politics in Nevada. Latinos who attended the caucuses were more likely than voters overall to say they are or they live with a union member.

Turnout in Nevada among Latino voters had grown in 2016 but dropped slightly this year

In 2008, Latinos comprised 15% of Nevada caucusgoers, and that grew to 19% in 2016 and was 17% this year.

Noteworthy Nuggets

A few other findings from the Edison entrance polls caught our eye….

Elizabeth Warren made an aggressive push for her candidacy in the most recent Democratic debate. That may have swayed some voters: 16% of caucus attendees who made up their minds who to support in the last few days supported her. But that wasn’t enough for her to win this group: these late deciders also went for Sanders (21%), Biden (21%) and Buttigieg (18%).

South Carolina will hold its primary tomorrow. Joe Biden is expected to fare well with the large share of black voters in that state. In Nevada, Biden won black voters with 38% (Sanders received 28% of the black vote).

While Sanders won overall and among younger voters, older voters showed a different preference for more moderate candidates. Biden won among those age 65 and older, followed by Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer.

Most voters in the New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucuses were white, while Nevada and the upcoming primary in South Carolina offer more diverse electorates. Nevada’s caucuses gave us some insight into the Latino vote – next up, a state in which 61% of primary voters were black in 2016, South Carolina.

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