WASHINGTON — One of the things the 2018 midterm elections determined — besides the change in House leadership — was that the Hispanic vote is growing in number and power, and political ad dollars are hot on their (campaign) trail, if Univision Communications is any gauge.
In fact, that growing Hispanic vote may correlate to the change in House control. According to Pew Research Center, about one-quarter (27%) of the Hispanics who voted in the midterm election were doing so for the first time, and made up a “notable” share of all voters in some states with competitive races, including 30% of all voters in Texas and 20% in Florida.
Pew said that in nine House districts where Hispanics make up at least 10% of eligible voters, the seats changed parties. A Democrat supplanted the incumbent Republican in all nine of those districts in Florida, California, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, New York and New Jersey.
According to a study reported by Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, Spanish-language political ads can help both Republicans and Democrats win over at least a little more of the bilingual vote.
Hispanic network Univision has some numbers to show the ad dollars either following or driving, or both, the Hispanic vote.
That starts with a 69% increase in political advertising on Univision in 2018 over 2014, according to president of advertising sales and marketing Steve Mandala, versus a 35% increase midterm-over-midterm for the political ad market generally. Based on its analysis of available data, Opensecrets.org said 44% of Hispanic voters, and perhaps more, voted in the midterms. In those races where Hispanics made up at least 10% of registered voters, 100% of governor and Senate race winners advertised with Univision.
The younger demos in that potential ad audience don’t appear to be going anywhere. According to a poll by The Hill, 94% of 18-to-35-year-old Hispanic voters who cast ballots in the midterms plan to do so in 2020.
Telemundo said it, too, has scored big with Spanish-language political ads. “Telemundo stations’ political billing has increased by 300% since the last midterm cycle,” said Frank Comerford, chief revenue officer for NBCUniversal’s owned TV stations.
Both Univision and Telemundo do more than sell ads to make themselves a go-to destination for the audiences political advertisers need to reach.
For example, Univision conducted its Vota Conmigo (Vote with Me) get out the vote (GOTV) campaign to educate Hispanic voters about where they could cast those all-important votes, with its stations hosting phone banks to answer questions, while Telemundo conducted voter registration drives. It also created election news website landing pages for key markets in Florida, Texas, New York, Nevada, and New Mexico.
Telemundo stations commissioned polls in key national races in Florida, California, Texas and New Jersey, among others. All of that effort has paid off.
“Based on our data, in races where Hispanics represented 10% or more of registered voters, 100% of all governor and Senate race winners advertised with Univision,” Mandala said.
Said Comerford, “As the race of 2020 ensues, our Telemundo stations will continue to build on their already strong political brand at an important inflection point that consistently keeps our stations as our local communities station of choice.”