The 2020 presidential election was the first widespread evidence that Hispanic voters were abandoning the Democratic Party in droves.
But a new poll shows just how significant the shift in voting preference has become for many Hispanic Americans.
What do the data show?
The latest NBC News/Telemundo poll revealed that "conservative Latino" voters have transformed from Democratic voters to members of the Republican Party's core supporters in just one decade.
In 2012, 49% of self-described "conservative Latinos" said they preferred that Democrats control Congress versus 40% who said they preferred Republicans. That means, 10 years ago, Democrats held a 9-point advantage.
Now, 73% of "conservative Latinos" say they prefer that Republicans control Congress versus just 17% who said they favor Democrats.
That means, in the span of one decade, the political preferences of "conservative Latino" voters have swung a whopping 65 points, an otherwise unheard of transformation in voter preference. Over the same time, "liberal Latino" voters have become more liberal, while moderate Latino voters have become more moderate.
What is driving the change?
Setting aside the fact that Republicans are clearly enjoying more support from Hispanic voters than ever, the poll's results appear to confirm a phenomenon happening more broadly: Americans are becoming entrenched in their political ideology.
Republicans, then, are becoming more conservative, Democrats are becoming more liberal, and true moderates are resisting the ideological pull from either party.
Meanwhile, the poll found that Hispanic voters overall still prefer Democrats to Republicans, 54% to 33%. But that 21-point margin is much smaller than in years past.
"While Latinos continue to lean toward the Democratic Party and prefer Democratic control of Congress, Republicans have a higher share of the vote than we’ve measured previously," pollster Aileen Cardona-Arroyo told NBC News. "Being down by 20 points is a lot better [for Republicans] than being down by 40 points."
Only a slight majority of overall Hispanic voters approve President Joe Biden, the poll found. A majority, however, disapprove of his job handling immigration and border security, the economy, and the cost of living.
So why are Hispanic voters leaving the Democratic party? One Texas-based woman recently told journalist Jose Diaz-Balart that she became a Republican because the Democratic Party is becoming overly progressive.
"We’re for God, country, family, and hard work," the woman said.
Not only are Hispanic voters increasingly leaving the Democratic Party, but black voters are also supporting Republicans in greater numbers than ever before.
If the Democratic Party continues hemorrhaging voters, it will be difficult to retain control of either the House or Senate. If that happens, Biden will be stalled for the second half of his presidency.