Just 1 percent of Hispanic Democratic voters in Florida prefer the term "Latinx," the gender-free alternative to "Latino" and "Latina" that has been embraced by several liberal groups and top Democratic politicians, according to a new poll.
The poll, shared Monday by Politico‘s Marc Caputo, surveyed 800 Hispanic Democrats in Florida and found the preferred label is still "Hispanic," the primary choice of 69 percent of respondents. Twenty-three percent said they preferred "Latino," 9 percent said they had no preference, and 1 percent said they preferred "Latinx," an attempt to remove the gender forms inherent in the Spanish language.
Support for "Latinx" among Hispanic Florida Democrats is even lower than its support among Hispanics nationally—just 2 percent of respondents to a nationwide poll conducted last November identified "Latinx" as their preferred term.
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Despite its lack of popularity, some liberals have adopted the term due to concerns that people of Latin American descent who don't identify exclusively with either gender—such as the gender-nonconforming, transsexuals, and the gender fluid—are excluded by the terms "Latino" and "Latina."
The term was adopted by several Democratic presidential candidates, including Sens. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.). Harris began using the non-gendered term around the time she launched her failed presidential campaign. Warren similarly used the term consistently on the campaign trail, hired a "Latinx outreach director," and sold unisex "Latinx with Warren" t-shirts.
The Massachusetts senator's embrace of the term did not pay off with Latino voters—she trailed both former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders in Latino support. Sanders, who won 49 percent of the Latino vote in California, uses "Latino" rather than "Latinx" in campaign materials because "Latino" is more widely used, according to senior campaign adviser Chuck Rocha. Biden's campaign also avoids the use of "Latinx," though the former vice president used the gender-neutral term in a July tweet.
The term has caught on, however, in academia. Prominent institutions including Harvard University now use the term exclusively in reference to the Hispanic community. The University of Virginia this academic year unveiled a brand new Latinx Student Center.
"Latinx" was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in September 2018. The dictionary acknowledged at the time that the term may not "catch on in mainstream use."