With the midterm elections on the horizon, Americans are being subjected to a barrage of Democratic and Republican ads. As the second largest voting block in 2020, Latino voters are expected to play a significant role in the 2022 election. As such, they are a key target group.
A nonprofit organization, Voto Latino, aims to combat political misinformation and reach self-identified moderate Latino voters through a series of ads.
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Ameer Patel, vice president of programs for Voto Latino, said, “We’ve seen a lot of Republicans make headway through misinformation campaigns targeting Latino voters, basically misinformation narratives that call Democrats socialists who are trying to erode trust in institutions. calling the Democrats unpatriotic.
“We’ve seen a lot of forays that the Republicans have made into some of these misinformation theories, and so what we wanted to do was basically debunk some of that and push the Democrats’ messages.”
Based on a mid-May poll of 1,600 Latinos in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania, Voto Latino and Rising Tide Interactive, a political strategy firm, developed 10 ads on issues voters felt were most important to them.
According to a Voto Latino memo reviewed by the Guardian, the issues include taxes, immigration, pandemic relief, small business relief, infrastructure, child tax credits and abortion rights.
“There’s been a lot of political communication that comes across as overly promotional or sophisticated,” Patel said. “We’ve seen these ads not have high effect sizes.”
Patel said Voto Latino spent a month gathering stories from Latino voters. The resulting advertisements were tested in mixed online contexts, with participants recruited through online advertisements. Respondents were first limited to people who self-identified as Latino, then to those who also self-identified as politically moderate.
Patel said: “Basically we were trying to get them on the record to talk about issues they care about, what they see in politics… These are real people, they weren’t actors. Plus, we wanted it to be a testimonial-style video instead of some of these voices that are more polished.
“For a lot of these people, they’ve never done this before. You can see [some of them] they’re clearly uncomfortable in front of the camera, so we think all of those things would really add to the likelihood of success here and make it feel more authentic.”
Each ad lasts 30 seconds. In one ad, about taxes, a young man named Felipe wears a dark polo shirt as he looks at the camera and says, “My parents broke their backs working multiple jobs to make ends meet.
“It made me angry that the Republicans passed a law to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires while my parents were paying real money… Your vote matters and when you vote Democrat it helps working families like mine get by ».
Voto Latino measured the effectiveness of each ad based on questions in three categories, compared to a placebo ad.
The three categories were care, trust and vote choice. The questions were whether Democrats or Republicans really care about the voter and his or her interests more than the other party. whether the voter trusts Democrats or Republicans to respond to issues that matter most to him or her. and if the November 2022 general election were held today, voters would vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate for US representative in their district.
According to Voto Latino, the ads proved very effective in increasing Democrats’ favorability in terms of trust, care and vote choice, especially when it came to abortion and religion.
The team’s note said: “In some cases, these ads had a 26% increase compared to the placebo group. Overall, the results recommend using “Abortion/Religion” or “Taxes” ads when reaching moderate Latinos.
Voto Latino CEO Maria Teresa Kumar said: “The numbers we’re seeing are the kinds of results that can transform a race. Latino voters are in a position to help Democrats win some of the most important contests in November. The question is whether our teams decide to work with them.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity. we just have to take advantage of it.”