GOP hopes to improve in 2022 on recent trends that show growing Latino support that helped Youngkin

One post-election survey found Latinos favored Youngkin by more than 10 points
Virginia's gubernatorial race pits GOP businessman Glenn Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Exit polls and voter surveys show support among Latinos and other minority groups helped Republican Glenn Youngkin pull off his upset victory in the recent Virginia governor's race.

Youngkin's win over Democrat Terry McAuliffe was largely the result of small gains in key minority groups, the most surprising of which was Latinos, who make up 5.5% of the state's eligible voters, according to an AP VoteCast survey

The post-election survey found Latinos favored Youngkin by more than 10 points, compared to exit polls by CNN and NBC on election night that suggested McAuliffe was leading Youngkin by 34 points among Latino voters, according to the news website ADN America.

Henry Olsen, an elections analyst and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., suggested Youngkin’s winning voter coalition was a combination of reliable GOP support from non-metropolitan voters and better-than-expected backing among some minority groups.

"Youngkin cut into Democratic margins among Asians and Latinos and some suburban whites while getting Trump-level support among rural Virginians," he told USA Today. "That combination was enough for victory."

The support from minority voters for Youngkin, a businessman and first-time candidate, from minority voters is increasing optimism among Republicans about replicating that success or building on it in next year’s midterms. 

Libre Initiative Coalitions Director Michael Monrroy believes that if politicians focus on "kitchen-table" issues such as economic opportunity and education the Latino community could become an important constituency. 

"I think perhaps Washington has focused too heavily on left-leaning policy priorities and need to come back to the center, focusing on the kitchen-table issues that can really transform the lives of Latino families," Monrroy told ADN America. "These families have been hurting during the pandemic and want economic relief along with a better future for their children.

"As long as the Latino community holds Governor Youngkin and all of the candidates that were elected on Tuesday accountable – and are given a seat at the table – I think they will be very competitive moving forward."

Over the past two decades, statistics have shown Latinos emerging as one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the U.S., with both major political parties scrambling to court potential voters. 

Before Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential run, preceeding Democrat presidential nominees Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were all able to capture a Latino majority in their quests for the presidency. 

However, that landscape appears to be undergoing a significant shift. 

In Virginia, Trump last year ran 6 points ahead of his 2016 performance with Latinos — from 30 percent to 36 percent, according to 2020 exit polls. Biden won 61 percent of the Latino vote, down from Clinton’s 65 percent in 2016,” POLITICO recently reported.