A significant minority of the Hispanic community uses Spanish language media. Spanish language media is no longer confined to cities close to the Mexican border; there are now affiliates of Spanish broadcasters in such middle American cities as Wichita and Kansas City. Thirty-five percent of respondents to the Univision Latino Votes Survey took the survey in Spanish. Of the three in the middle political groups surveyed (Democratic Leaners, Swing, and Republican Leaners), 30% are Spanish dominant (meaning those whose majority of television consumption is in Spanish).
Who consumes Spanish language media: Spanish language consumption is heavily determined by education level. Of the 40 percent of all respondents with a High School diploma or less, 44% are Spanish dominant. But only 12 percent of those with some college and 11 percent of college graduates are Spanish dominant. Once a respondent steps foot on a college campus, their likelihood of viewing Spanish language television falls by 73 percent.
Republicans are less likely to consume Spanish media. Twenty percent of Republicans are Spanish dominant. This is less than for either Democrats or Independents, both of whose level of Spanish dominant individuals is 28-29%. In spite of that, self-identified conservatives are more likely to be Spanish dominant. Thirty-two percent of self-described conservatives are Spanish dominant, compared to 25% of moderates, and 20% of liberals. Clearly, there is some room for improvement for Republicans among the Spanish language audience.
Women are more likely to watch Spanish language media. Thirty percent report being Spanish dominant. That is somewhat larger than the 22 percent of men who are Spanish dominant. The geographic subsample group most likely to be Spanish dominant was those who were from Florida.
The small proportion of Protestants is much less likely to watch Spanish language television than their Catholic counterparts. Only 18 percent of Protestants are Spanish dominant, compared to 31 percent of Catholics. Self described “Observant Catholics” (30 percent of all respondents) are much more Spanish dominant (38%) than self described “Non-Observant Catholics” (34 percent of all respondents), of whom only 25 percent are Spanish dominant. If Republicans are interested in targeting the Hispanics who are socially conservative, then Spanish language TV has to be part of that strategy.
Effects on political attitudes: As media consumption becomes more English-heavy, support for immigration restriction increases. Eleven percent of Spanish only viewers support making it harder for immigrants to come to US, compared to 15% for Spanish majority viewers, 24% for English majority viewers, and 28% for English only viewers.
Twenty-three percent of Spanish only viewers consider immigration their top issue, compared to 17 percent of Spanish majority viewers, 8 percent of English majority viewers, and a mere 4 percent of English only viewers. This could indicate that the Spanish language media is heavily fixated on immigration issues. The precise opposite occurs with social issues. Only 8 percent of Spanish only respondents named social issues their top priority. This increases to 10% of Spanish majority viewers, 15% of English majority viewers, and 16% of English only viewers. It could also be the case that Spanish language media does not cover culture war issues to the extent that Anglo outlets do.
Effects on political partisanship: When asked about how committed Democrats were to immigration reform, the amount who answered “committed” stayed between 41-42 percent regardless of how much or little Spanish language media consumed. What did change noticeably was the amount who thought Democrats were exploiting the immigration issue to win votes. Thirty-nine percent of Spanish only voters believed this, compared to 45 percent of Spanish majority viewers, 49 percent of English majority viewers, and 50 percent of English only viewers. Increasing exposure to English language media correlates with less trust in the Democratic Party.
Republican Base voters stand out in their distance from Spanish language media. The other four voter segments (including Republican Leaners) have somewhere between 26-33% of respondents who are Spanish language dominant. Republican Base voters are only nine percent Spanish dominant. A microscopic one percent of Republican Base voters are Spanish only viewers. They are the one voting segment that is out of reach of Spanish language media.