Democrats have lost ground with Latino voters, a group that could sway the results of several key midterm races, according to a new national survey from Pew Research Center.
Latino voters favor Democratic congressional candidates over Republican candidates by a margin of 57 percent to 28 percent, the study released Wednesday says. In 2010—a wave year that saw Republicans take control of the House of Representatives—65 percent of Latino voters backed Democrats and 22 percent supported Republicans.
The numbers are a warning sign for Democrats, who are looking to defend their majority in the Senate.
Hispanic voters could swing the outcome of the Senate race in Colorado, where Latinos make up 14.2 percent of eligible voters, 3.5 percentage points higher than the national average. In five other states, the Latino portion of eligible voters is larger than the polling margin between the top two Senate candidates.
To be sure, Democrats still enjoy a wide advantage over Republicans when it comes to support from Latino voters. A Latino Decisions poll conducted last month found Colorado Sen. Mark Udall (D) leading his Republican opponent Cory Gardner 66 percent to 17 percent among Latino registered voters.
Yet, the Pew survey shows some underlying signs of weakness for Democrats during a year when President Obama and Congress failed to act on immigration reform. Fifty-five percent of Latino registered voters disapprove of the way Obama has handled deportations.
The portion of Latino voters who believe the Democratic Party has more concern for Latinos than the GOP fell from 61 percent in 2012 to 50 percent this year. Thirty-five percent say there is no difference between the parties, up from 23 percent two years ago. Just under half (49 percent) approve of President Obama's job performance. By contrast, over seven in ten Latino voters cast a ballot for Obama in 2012.
That could raise concerns about lower Latino turnout at the polls; 53 percent of Latino registered voters say they are certain to vote this year, compared to 70 percent of all registered voters who said the same in a July Pew survey.
While the numbers show dampened Latino support for Democrats, Republicans have failed to make up significant ground. Only 10 percent of Latino voters believe the GOP cares more about them than Democrats, unchanged from 2012.
Jordan Fabian is Fusion's politics editor, writing about campaigns, Congress, immigration, and more. When he's not working, you can find him at the ice rink or at home with his wife, Melissa.