Jarred Cuellar
CPP Magazine

Expert Q&A

A Busy Election Season

Politics and public policy experts say that 2024 will be a chaotic election year. Political Science Assistant Professor Jarred Cuellar, working with colleagues from CSU Long Beach Center for Urban Politics and Policy and USC, shares a few insights from the California Elections and Policy Poll (CEPP) conducted in January to gauge voter sentiment.

Latinos and Asian Americans are the Golden State’s two fastest-growing racial/ethnic groups. What impact will they have on the election?

These are the two fastest-growing racial/ethnic groups in the state, and they have much in common. These communities have the largest number of foreign-born voters, both have high rates of multilingual abilities, and strong cultural ties. However, when looking at the results they are behaving very differently politically. The impacts of generational status and having a college degree may help explain the discrepancy in vote choice, as Latinos are less likely to have a college degree than are Asian Americans, while holding a college degree increases one’s chance of voting for the Democratic party.

Looking ahead to November, 80 percent of Latino Republicans back former President Trump despite his hardline immigration rhetoric. What is Trump’s appeal for this group?

In California, Latinos are the demographic group that appears to be most supportive of Trump, and the former president has gained support since 2020. It’s likely driven by blue-collar Latinos who are feeling the burden of inflation. This is a common trend amongst the American electorate — to blame the president when the economy is down or when inflation is up.

What is interesting is that Trump gained significantly more Latino support than Mitt Romney had in 2012, which may be due to his ability to peel away blue-collar Latino workers. We can see that this has been part of Trump’s strategy, given he met with the Teamsters [in January] and has tried to gain support among rank-and-file UAW members. While he will not win the Latino vote, he has had some success in gaining support amongst the Latino community.