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Latino and Immigrant Voters in the 2016 Election

2016 Report Cover

Background

For last several elections cycles, America’s Voice has worked closely with Latino Decisions to monitor Latino and immigrant attitudes toward candidates and issues impacting their community.

In 2016, Latino voters will play a decisive role in the election of the next President. This report catalogs and documents our research demonstrating how the Latino and immigrant community will shape this election cycle.


The 2016 Election

At a national level, when asked about the head-to-head matchup between the parties’ two presumptive presidential nominees, Latino voters nationwide prefer Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 74%-16% margin. This puts Trump on track to underperform Mitt Romney’s historically poor performance among Latino voters in 2012, when Latinos supported President Obama by a 75%-23% margin over Romney, according to Latino Decisions 2012 Election Eve polling (71%-27% in media-sponsored exit polls).

Of note, 33% of self-identified Latino Republican respondents said they were likely to back Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump. When asked about candidate favorability, 78% of Latino voters have an unfavorable opinion of Donald Trump, including 69% who have a “very unfavorable” opinion. This compares to just 17% who view Trump as “very” (8%) or “somewhat” (9%) favorable – putting his net favorability underwater by 61 percentage points. Comparatively, Hillary Clinton has a positive favorability rating among Latino voters in the new Latino Decisions poll with a 63%-32% margin.

Of course, the Presidential election is decided on a state-by-state tally of electoral votes. In this report, we examine the role Latino voters will play in key battleground states of Nevada, Florida, Colorado, which are frequently noted for their Latino populations – and several other states, including Ohio, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, where Latino voters could tip the balance.

More than 3-of-4 Latino voters (77%) say the Republican Party “doesn’t care too much about Latinos” (41%) or that the GOP is “sometimes hostile towards Latinos” (36%), while just 13% say the Republican Party “truly cares about the Latino community.” Of note, 43% of self-identified Latino Republican respondents say their own party is indifferent or hostile to Latinos. When Latino voters are asked if the GOP has, in recent years, become more welcoming to Latinos, more hostile to Latinos, or has not really changed, 46% say the Republican Party has become more hostile, 11% say the Republican Party has become more welcoming, and 36% say no change.

Perhaps unsurprisingly in light of the overall tarnished Republican brand, Latino voters prefer generic Democratic candidates over generic Republican candidates by approximately 4:1 margins in both House and Senate contests (72%-16% in House contests nationwide and 71%-19% in Senate contests nationwide).


Quick Facts From the Report

Colorado

Colorado Demographics

Nearly half (46%) of Colorado’s immigrants are Mexican and, according to Latino Decisions, 65% of Colorado’s Latinos say they personally know an undocumented immigrant.

The relentless pace of demographic change will increase the number of voters who are Latino in 2016 and beyond. For instance in Colorado alone since 2012 11,000 Latino immigrants are estimated to have become citizens and an estimated 67,000 young Latino citizens will have turned 18, and thus will be eligible to vote.

If only half of these new eligible voters turn out to vote (as they did in 2012, according to Census figures) and 75% of these votes go to the Democratic candidate, that is an additional 30,000 votes. Between 2012 and 2020, there will be an estimated 168,606 additional eligible Latino voters.

Colorado Latinos and the GOP

Latino support for the Republican Party in national elections in Colorado grew significantly between 1996 and 2008, peaking at 38% . In 2012, only 23% of Latinos voted for the GOP candidate.

Colorado Latinos and Donald Trump

A Latino Decisions poll conducted in April of 2016 of Latinos in Colorado shows the effects of Trump’s rhetoric on his favorability amongst Colorado Latinos. 91% of Latinos in Colorado have an unfavorable view of Trump with 85% reporting they view him “very unfavorably.” Only 10% of Colorado Latinos said they would vote for Trump if the election were held that day, compared to 79%that said they’d vote for Clinton.

Florida

Florida Demographics

In 2016, Latinos will comprise more than 18% of the Florida electorate, ranking the state fifth in the nation in percentage of Latino voters. The projected number of Latinos turning 18 or becoming citizens between 2012 and 2016—411,000—dwarfs Obama’s margin of victory in 2012 of 74,000.

In Florida between 2012 and 2016, 36,000 Asians were projected to become citizens and another 26,000 Asian citizens turned 18. On top of that, there were 186,000 unregistered eligible Asian voters in Florida in 2012.

Florida Latinos and the GOP

Traditionally, Republicans have performed well with Latinos in Florida, due in large part to the conservative Cuban vote. In the last 15 years, however, two trends have helped Democrats gain among Florida’s Latinos. Cubans have become more diverse (in 2014, 44% of Cubans in the U.S. were native-born) and U.S. born Cubans are not as focused on Cold-War politics. (Younger Cubans—aged 18 to 49—now identify with or lean to the Democratic Party by 56% compared to 23% who identify with or lean to the Republican party).

Additionally, the non-Cuban population is growing. In 2014, Cubans comprised less than a third—29.5% —of the Latino population in Florida. The next three largest groups—Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Colombians—together comprise 42%  . In 2012, the 57% of the 66% of Latinos who voted for Obama were non-Cuban versus 34% for Romney.

Florida Latinos and Donald Trump

In a Washington Post-Univision poll of Latino voters 73% of Latino voters said they had heard “a lot” about Trump’s views on immigrants coming to the United States from Mexico and other countries. (An additional 9% said they had heard some). Most, 74% , find his views offensive. As a result, most Latinos have a “very unfavorable” view of Trump (72%) or a “somewhat unfavorable” view of him (9%  ). In a matchup with Hillary Clinton, Clinton would actually do better than President Obama in 2012—she was the choice of 73% of respondents, versus 16% for Trump. In a poll of Florida Latinos conducted by Latino Decisions in April of 2016, in a head-to-head between Trump and Clinton, 69% leaned toward Clinton while 18% leaned toward Trump.

Nevada

Nevada Demographics

Since 1980, the Latino share of the population has tripled, reaching 26% of Nevada’s population in 2012. From 2000 to 2014, the Latino population share nearly doubled to 753,000. Along with that increase in total population comes growth in the Latino electorate, and the growing necessity for political parties to address the needs of this community. Since President Obama won 76% of the Nevada Latino vote in 2008, Latinos have been a key factor in Democratic victories for national offices in the state.

Nevada Latinos and the GOP

A Latino Decisions poll of Nevadan Latino voters in 2016 found that  31% of Latino Voters in Nevada said the Republican Party is sometimes hostile towards Latinos and 47% said the Republican Party does not care too much about Latinos. In the same Latino Decisions poll, 42% of Latinos said in recent years the Republican Party has gotten more hostile to Latinos.

Nevada Latinos and Donald Trump

In an April 2016 poll conducted by Latino Decisions of Nevada Latino, 87% of respondents said they had an unfavorable view of Trump, with 81% saying their opinion of him was very unfavorable. Also, when asked to rate Trump on a scale of 1 to 10, 73% of respondents rated him a 1, the most anti-immigrant. When asked if the election were that day who they would vote for in a head-to-head between Clinton and Trump, Clinton led Trump 76% to 13%.


Report Findings

The Latino Vote in Colorado

The Latino Vote in Colorado Will Determine The Outcome of the Election

Colorado is a presidential election swing state. Colorado voters picked Republican presidential candidates in 2000 and 2004, but President Obama won the state in 2008 and 2012. Part of the reason: the growth of the Latino electorate, which has favored Democrats by substantial margins in recent years.

Latinos in Colorado Pull Away from GOP

Latino support for the Republican Party in national elections in Colorado grew significantly between 1996 and 2008, peaking at 38% . In 2012, only 23% of Latinos voted for the GOP candidate.

In a poll of Latinos conducted by Latino Decisions on the eve of the 2014 midterm elections in Colorado, 42% said that Republicans “don’t care too much” about the Latino Community, and another 30% said that Republicans were “sometimes hostile” toward Latinos. Nearly half (45%  ) have pretty much written off the Republican Party, saying that the party “has now become so anti-immigrant, and anti-Latino that it would be hard for me to consider supporting them.”

Another Latino Decisions Latino poll in Colorado in April of 2016 showed Colorado Latinos continue to hold similar opinions towards the Republican party with 50% saying that Republicans “don’t care too much” about the Latino Community, and another 25% saying that Republicans were “sometimes hostile” toward Latinos.

It is not hard to understand why.

GOP Hostility Towards Immigration Fuels Flight from GOP

In the 2014 Latino Decisions poll, 85% of respondents stated that immigration reform was at least “somewhat important” in driving their decision to vote and their choice of candidate, with 30% saying it was the most important issues. In the months leading up to the poll conducted by Latino Decisions, Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives refused to take up a comprehensive immigration reform bill passed in the Senate in 2013. In addition to refusing to bring a bill to a vote, Congressional Republicans continued their hostility toward immigrants and immigration by attacking President Obama for providing temporary relief from deportation to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, and for de-prioritizing deportation for non-criminal undocumented immigrants.

Since then, top contenders for the Republican presidential nomination ratcheted up harsh rhetoric towards immigrants and immigration–the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump began his campaign calling Mexicans rapists and murderers.

Such rhetoric will not endear Republicans to Colorado’s Latino voters. For one thing, nearly half (46%) of Colorado’s immigrants are Mexican and, in the Latino Decisions poll cited above, 65% of Colorado’s Latinos say they personally know an undocumented immigrant. Furthermore, 62% of Latinos said that “if Republicans block President Obama from taking any action on immigration,” it would make them feel less enthusiastic about Republicans.

A Latino Decisions poll conducted in April of 2016 of Latinos in Colorado shows the effects of Trump’s rhetoric on his favorability amongst Colorado Latinos. 91% of Latinos in Colorado have an unfavorable view of Trump with 85% reporting they view him “very unfavorably.” Only 10% of Colorado Latinos said they would vote for Trump if the election were held that day, compared to 79%that said they’d vote for Clinton.

In the same Latino Decisions poll, 45% of respondents said that in recent years the Republican party has become more hostile to Latinos, with only 9% saying it has become more welcoming to Latinos.

State GOP Candidates Echoed Hostility at the Top

On June 28, 2016, Colorado Republican votes chose El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn as their candidate to challenge Bennet. During the campaign, Glenn stated, “I don’t know what people don’t understand about illegal. We need to make sure that we terminate those strings that encourage people to violate the rule of law.”

Throughout the primary race, the unwelcoming tone set at the top of the ticket was echoed in by the other candidates during the GOP Senate primary.

Colorado State Senator Tim Neville, one of the contenders, said this on immigration: “Step 1: Our border MUST be secured. There can be no discussion of any so-called immigration reform until our border is completely secured.” He never gets to step 2.

Businessman Robert Blaha promised that, If he can’t help achieve “a 50% drop-off rate in illegal immigration to the United States,” he will leave Washington at the end of his first term.

State representative Jon Keyser believes “immigration is first and foremost a national security issue.”

Sen. Cory Gardner Sides with Anti-immigrant Republicans

In 2015 Senator Cory Gardner voted to invoke cloture on a Department of Homeland Security funding bill that contained anti-immigrant amendments that would have dismantled President Obama’s executive actions on DAPA and expanded DACA. In 2013, Gardner opposed a state law in Colorado that would have granted in-state tuition to immigrant youth.

Mike Coffman’s Record is Clear

When it comes to immigration reform, Mike Coffman always finds a way to “no.” In Spanish Coffman says he supports immigration reform while consistently finding reasons to oppose it.

Additionally, Mike Coffman has consistently and strongly opposed DACA and DAPA going so far as to calling those actions “unconstitutional.”

Unfortunately for Coffman, it’s going to take more than a few words in Spanish to win over Latino voters when you represent the party of Trump.

Sen. Michael Bennet Immigration Stance Aligns with Public Opinion on Immigration Reform

Democratic Senator Michael Bennet was a part of the Senate “Gang of Eight” that authored the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed in the Senate and eventually died in the House. Among other pro-immigrant provisions, the bill provided for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants provided they met certain conditions.

In regards to immigration, the Senator is squarely aligned with Colorado public opinion. In a 2014 poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, 61% of Coloradans said they favored immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, provided immigrants meet certain conditions. An additional 19% of Coloradans said they would favor allowing undocumented immigrants to become permanent legal residents, but not citizens.

Why the Latino Vote Matters in Colorado

While Latino voters nationwide turnout in lower percentage ages than white voters, in Colorado, the state is divided. In 2012, President Obama won the state by just 137,000 votes and 263,000 out of 351,000 Latino voters voted for the President.

The relentless pace of demographic change will increase the number of voters who are Latino in 2016 and beyond. For instance, in Colorado alone, since 2012 11,000 Latino immigrants are estimated to have become citizens and an estimated 67,000 young Latino citizens will have turned 18, and thus will be eligible to vote. If only half of these new eligible voters turn out to vote (as they did in 2012, according to Census figures) and 75% of these votes go to the Democratic candidate, that is an additional 30,000 votes. Between 2012 and 2020, there will be an estimated 168,606 additional eligible Latino voters.

The combined number of potential new Latino voters through aging and/or naturalization (78,000) is dwarfed by the number of Latino eligible voters who are not yet registered. in 2012, that number was 213,000, a number larger than the population of all but three of Colorado’s cities.

In the Last Election, Many Latino Voters Were Never Contacted

As the numbers above show, successful voter registration drives could significantly add to the pool of Latino voters in 2016, but the opportunity must not be squandered. On the eve of the 2014 election, only 41% of Latino voters in Colorado said the Democratic Party was doing a good job of reaching out to Latino voters while only 15% of Latino voters said the same for the Republican party.

If Colorado continues to be a hotly contested swing state, and Republican candidates continue their hostility toward immigrants and immigration, Democrats stand to gain and maintain an overwhelming advantage among Latino voters. A greater effort at targeting these voters could solidify a Democratic advantage and lessen the changes the state swings red anytime soon.


The Latino Vote in Florida

 

Republicans and the Latino Vote in Florida

Traditionally, Republicans have performed well with Latinos in Florida, due in large part to the conservative Cuban vote. In the last 15 years, however, two trends have helped Democrats gain among Florida’s Latinos. Cubans have become more diverse (in 2014, 44% of Cubans in the U.S. were native-born) and U.S. born Cubans are not as focused on Cold-War politics. (Younger Cubans—aged 18 to 49—now identify with or lean to the Democratic Party by 56% compared to 23% who identify with or lean to the Republican party).

In Florida, these shifts in Cuban affiliation can be seen by analyzing the results of the presidential elections in the last 15 years. In 2000, George W. Bush won 81% of the Cuban vote in Florida. In 2012, President Obama picked up 49% of the Cuban vote compared to 47% that went for Romney.

Additionally, the non-Cuban population is growing. In 2014, Cubans comprised less than a third—29.5% —of the Latino population in Florida. The next three largest groups—Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Colombians—together comprise 42%. In 2012, the 57% of the 66% of Latinos who voted for Obama were non-Cuban versus 34% for Romney.

Latinos are Driving Democratic Registration in Florida

The growth of the non-Cuban population combined with the tendency for younger Cubans to identify with Democrats, has boosted the number of registered Democrats in the state. Between 2006 and 2016, Latinos accounted for 88% of the growth in the number of registered Democrats in Florida, and now registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in the state among Latino voters.

The Growing Latino Electorate in Florida

In 2016, Latinos will comprise more than 18% of the Florida electorate, ranking the state fifth in the nation in percentage of Latino voters. The projected number of Latinos turning 18 or becoming citizens between 2012 and 2016—411,000—dwarfs Obama’s margin of victory in 2012 of 74,000.

Following the rise of Donald Trump, there are indications that immigrants in Florida are applying for citizenship and registering to vote in greater numbers in recent months. Mexicans and other Latinos, in particular, want to be able to vote against him in November. According to data from the University of Southern California Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, there were more than 400,000 Latino immigrants eligible to naturalize in Florida.

The Small but Rapidly Growing Asian Electorate

Another group with a significant recent immigration history, Asians, has also been trending Democrat. In 2012, 68% of Asian Americans voted for Obama, versus 31% for Romney. In Florida, Asian American electorate is small, but the Asian vote for Obama was still estimated to be larger than his thin margin of victory in Florida in 2012– and this population is growing. A dozen metropolitan areas in Florida are considered “new Asian destinations” and some—including Cape Coral, Lakeland, Bradenton, and Orlando—saw more than 100% Asian population increases between the 2000 and 2010 censuses. In Florida between 2012 and 2016, 36,000 Asians were projected to become citizens and another 26,000 Asian citizens turned 18. On top of that, there were 186,000 unregistered eligible Asian voters in Florida in 2012.

Thresholds Needed by the GOP in 2016

Despite these demographic challenges, Republicans will have to perform better Florida in 2016 than they did in 2012. If all racial groups maintain the same voting preferences they had in 2012, the GOP would only get to 48.8% of the vote in Florida. This is due largely to the fact that white voters will comprise a lower percentage of the electorate in 2016. Based on 2012 preferences, some estimate that the GOP will need a whopping 70% of the White male vote in 2016. Alternatively, the GOP will need more than 45% of the Latino vote, compared to the 39% they obtained in 2016.

As these thresholds show, the steady trend toward Democratic affiliation among Latino voters in Florida presents a great challenge to the GOP. A challenge made even greater by the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump.

Florida Republicans Digging a Deeper Hole with Latino Voters

In a Washington Post-Univision poll of Latino voters 73% of Latino voters said they had heard “a lot” about Trump’s views on immigrants coming to the United States from Mexico and other countries. (An additional 9% said they had heard some). Most, 74% , find his views offensive. As a result, most Latinos have a “very unfavorable” view of Trump (72%) or a “somewhat unfavorable” view of him (9%  ). In a matchup with Hillary Clinton, Clinton would actually do better than President Obama in 2012—she was the choice of 73% of respondents, versus 16% for Trump. In a poll of Florida Latinos conducted by Latino Decisions in April of 2016, in a head-to-head between Trump and Clinton, 69% leaned toward Clinton while 18% leaned toward Trump.

In the same Latino Decisions poll, when asked to rate Donald Trump’s views on immigrants and immigration on a scale of 1 to 10, one being the most anti-immigrant and 10 being the most pro-immigrant, 63% rated him as a 1, the most anti-immigrant. In the same poll conducted by Latino Decisions, 68% of Florida Latinos said Trump’s views on immigration made them less likely to vote Republican in November while 53% said Clinton’s views on immigration made them more likely to vote Democrat in November.

The GOP’s problems with Latinos, however, go beyond Trump. When asked who they trusted more to improve the lives of Hispanics, voters trust Democrats over Republicans by a more than 3 to 1 margin (62% vs. 18%). Additionally, in an April 2016 Latino Decisions poll of Latino voters, 26% of respondents said the Republican Party is sometimes hostile to Latinos, and 39% said the Republican Party does not care too much about Latinos. In the same Latino Decisions poll, 43% said in recent years the Republican party has become more hostile to Latinos.

Senate GOP Candidate Views Align with Trump

When Marco Rubio announced his presidential campaign, he gave up his Senate seat. However, after the failure of the presidential run, including losing by a 2-1 margin in Florida, Rubio re-entered the Senate GOP primary. All of the other GOP contenders, except Trump acolyte,Carlos Beruf, dropped out of the race.

Rubio’s naked flip-flop on his Senate career is both audacious and reminiscent of his contortions on immigration. After the “Gang of Eight” bill passed in the Senate, Rubio began walking back his support. Rubio not only turned his back on his lone legislative accomplishment in the Senate, but he also promised to end the DACA program for Dreamers on day one of his presidency (flip-flopping from an earlier stance), championed a series of enforcement-first policies that look an awful lot like Romney’s “self-deportation” plan, and outlined a “step-by-step” immigration approach that, upon inspection, is a political and rhetorical sales job rather than a policy proposal to take seriously.

In the face of the existential danger to Florida’s Latino and immigrant communities that Donald Trump represents – and despite stating that Trump could not be trusted with the nuclear codes – Rubio nonetheless pledged to support Trump for president.

It is clear that the man Time Magazine once anointed as “The Republican Savior” has no convictions that run deeper than his own drive for political power.

Immigration Positions of Democratic Candidates Align with the Public

Meanwhile, the two main Democratic contenders, Representatives Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson, are both supporters of immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. In a statement following passage of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill in the 113th Congress, Murphy, representing the 18th Congressional District, said that he was “pleased to see that the Senate’s immigration reform plan included a reasonable pathway to citizenship.” On his website, Grayson, representing the 9th district, says that “[w]e must set forth a straightforward route to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants who already live in our communities, work for our businesses, and want to give back to the country that they call home.” Both Democrats are original co-sponsors of H.R. 15, a comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced by House Democrats when Republican leaders refused to consider the Senate-passed bill.

The Democratic candidates are more aligned with Florida voters, 77% of whom believe that undocumented immigrants should be provided with citizenship or legal residence short of citizenship if they meet certain requirements. In a Washington Post survey of Latino voters, 82% of Latinos said they would like to see the next president be someone who supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Among the issues Latinos consider to be the most important in deciding who to vote for, immigration ranked second in that Washington Post voter survey.

With their candidates for the Senate all taking a hard line on immigration, and with a presidential candidate who has immigration views that Latinos find offensive, Republicans in Florida seem to have all but ceded the Latino vote to Democrats.


The Latino Vote in Nevada

 

GOP Window of Opportunity to Attract Latinos in Nevada Rapidly Closing

Nevada’s Latino population has been rising steadily in the last two decades. Since 1980, the Latino share of the population has tripled, reaching 26% of Nevada’s population in 2012. From 2000 to 2014, the Latino population share nearly doubled to 753,000. Along with that increase in total population comes growth in the Latino electorate, and the growing necessity for political parties to address the needs of this community. Since President Obama won 76% of the Nevada Latino vote in 2008, Latinos have been a key factor in Democratic victories for national offices in the state. And yet, instead of courting Latino voters, Republicans have driven them away with anti-immigrant policy proposals.

In Response To Republican Hostility, Latino Vote is Lopsided in Favor of Democrats

In 2008, while Obama pledged to make immigration reform a priority, his opponent, John McCain backed away from a reform bill he co-authored, and McCain felt the repercussions at the polls.

Two years later, during the anti-incumbent fervor that brought big gains for extremely conservative Republican candidates across the country, Nevada’s Harry Reid, then Democratic Senate Majority Leader, appeared to be on the road to defeat. His opponent, Sharron Angle, ran an anti-immigrant campaign famously featuring an ad, “The Wave,” which included menacing-looking Latinos while a narrator discussed the “waves of illegal aliens streaming across our border, joining violent gangs, forcing families to live in fear.” Latinos responded logically: Senator Reid picked up 90% of their vote versus Angle’s 8% of the Latino vote, and their turnout made for a record 16% of the total vote. Reid was re-elected.

In 2012, it was Obama versus Romney. Obama had recently used his executive authority to enact, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), to protect a class of undocumented immigrants—those who had been brought to the country illegally by their parents—from deportation. Romney’s position on immigration reform was that undocumented immigrants should “self-deport.”

A Latino Decisions election eve poll of Nevada Latinos found that DACA made 61% of Nevada’s Latinos “more enthusiastic” about supporting President Obama, while Romney’s self-deportation policy made 61% “less enthusiastic” about supporting him. In the end, Obama was supported by 87% of the Nevada Latino electorate vs. 15% for Romney, and Latinos comprised 14.7% of the electorate.

Republican Positions in 2016 May Trigger Another Lopsided Vote

As another presidential election approaches, Republicans have worsened their rhetoric on immigration. Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee and the face of the GOP, famously called Mexicans rapists in his campaign announcement speech. His rhetoric has not improved since.

This has not endeared him to Latinos. A Univision poll conducted of Latino voters in July 2016  found that 73% think Trump is a racist and 77% hold an unfavorable view of him. In a head-to-head between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Clinton would receive 67% of the Latino vote, and Trump would receive 19%. 53% of poll respondents said that, because of Trump, they would not consider voting for a Republican candidate in the future.

In an April 2016 poll conducted by Latino Decisions of Nevada Latino, 87% of respondents said they had an unfavorable view of Trump, with 81% saying their opinion of him was very unfavorable. Also, when asked to rate Trump on a scale of 1 to 10, 73% of respondents rated him a 1, the most anti-immigrant. When asked if the election were that day who they would vote for in a head-to-head between Clinton and Trump, Clinton led Trump 76% to 13%.

Even worse for Republicans, in the aforementioned Latino Decisions poll of Nevadan Latino voters in 2016, 80% of Nevada Latino respondents said that Trump’s views on immigrants or immigration made them less likely to vote Republican. Further, 31% said the Republican Party is sometimes hostile towards Latinos and 47% said the Republican Party does not care too much about Latinos. In the same Latino Decisions poll, 42% of Latinos said in recent years the Republican Party has gotten more hostile to Latinos.

Senator Heck Tries to Have it Both Ways

Senator Harry Reid is retiring. Representative Joe Heck (R-NV), currently representing Nevada’s Third Congressional District, and former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto are competing for the seat.

According to her campaign website, Attorney General Cortez Masto’s view on immigration are:

“Our country is a nation of immigrants. No Nevadan family should be torn apart due to our broken immigration system. We need comprehensive reform that secures our borders and allows undocumented immigrants to earn a pathway to citizenship.”

Heck uses more nuanced language, on his congressional website, Heck says that he is “open to considering proposals that address earned citizenship.” When he’s had a chance to act, however, he has either failed to support or opposed comprehensive immigration reform proposals.

For instance, in June 2013, Representative Heck voted with his Republican colleagues to defund the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—which has given thousands of DREAMers temporary protection from deportation and work authorization. Explaining his vote in an op-ed, Heck said that, while “young people brought here in an undocumented status need a chance to make a life for themselves,” his vote reflected his belief that “the appropriate method is through a transparent and public legislative process.”

However, in 2010 as a candidate for the House, Heck opposed legislation to provide a path to citizenship for this very same population of young people. After the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013, and Republican leadership in the House failed to take it up, Rep. Heck refused to endorse a bill sponsored by Democratic House members similar to the Senate bill.

So, the race for Nevada’s open Senate seat is between a Democrat who plainly states her support for reform with a path to citizenship (a position shared by 62% of Nevadans) and a Republican who has failed to support reform when he has had opportunities to do so.

In 2016, Republicans Face a Larger Latino Electorate

In 2012, Latinos were 14.7% of all voters in Nevada, according to Latino Decisions. In 2016, Center for American Progress projects that Latinos will comprise more than 21% of the vote. The Partnership for a New American Economy estimates that between 2012 and 2016, there will be more than 61,000 Latino citizens who will have turned 18 or Latino immigrants who will have acquired citizenship and thus be eligible to vote. Since 2008, the number of Latino eligible voters in Nevada has increased from 228,000 to a projected 388,000 in 2016, according to The Partnership for a New American Economy. On top of that, there were an estimated 121,000 unregistered Latino citizens in 2012, all of whom could potentially be added to the voter rolls.

If other demographic groups vote in the same percentage as they did in 2012 (according to exit polls from The Partnership for a New American Economy), the GOP will need at least 51.1% of the Latino vote to gain more than 50% of the overall vote in Nevada. Therefore, Trump will need to improve by 34% from Romney’s 27% Latino support, which seems very unlikely, given the likely nominee is a candidate who is viewed “very unfavorably” by 72% of Latinos nationwide, and by 81% of Latinos in Nevada.

Young Latinos Trend Democratic in Greater Numbers

If young Latinos continue to lean Democrat to the extent they have recently, there are a lot of potential Nevada Democrats in the pipeline—48% of Nevada’s Latinos were aged 24 and younger in 2014, and 86% of them are native-born, according to The Partnership for a New American Economy.

The authors of a 2013 Brooking’s Mountain West report on Nevada’s Latino electorate sum up the urgency of the GOP problem with Nevada’s Latinos:

[A]s Nevada’s demography continues to shift and Latino voters, particularly the immense under-thirty heavily Democratic cohort, become more engaged in politics, the GOP’s window of opportunity, and by extension its ability to compete in Nevada, may be rapidly closing

The Latino Vote in Ohio

Trump Could Help Turn Out Multi-Racial Coalition in Ohio to Vote Against Hate

With Donald Trump spewing blatantly racist rhetoric and targeting many communities of color, a multi-racial coalition is emerging in Ohio to stand up against these attacks. The role of African American, Latino, and APIA voters in Ohio has been expanding over the last few election cycles and will only continue to grow. By 2060, people of color will make up at least 30.9% of eligible voters in Ohio.

African-American voters accounted for Obama’s margin of victory in Ohio in 2012, and, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls, Donald Trump is polling at 0% with black voters in Ohio.

As a percentage of the electorate, Ohio’s Latino population ranks 42nd among the states. In total numbers, however, Ohio’s Latino eligible voters population,199,000 in 2014, is big enough to be decisive in this swing state. President Obama won the state by just 166,000 votes in 2012. Between 2000 and 2014, Ohio’s Latino population grew more than 83 percent, compared to the state’s overall growth of 2 percent.

Asian Americans, who voted for Obama in similar percentages as Latinos in 2012, will make up another 127,000 eligible Ohio voters in 2016. Though Asian Americans are a small part of the overall electorate (1.3%), the population is growing much faster than the population of Ohio as a whole.  Between 2000 and 2010, the Asian American population grew 49%, compared to 1.6% growth in the overall population, and between 2008 and 2012, the number of Asian American voters grew 18.6% compared to 1.5% growth in Ohio’s overall eligible voting population.

The Latino Threshold

Between 2000 and 2014, Ohio’s Latino population grew more than 83%, compared to the state’s overall growth of 2%. Between 2008 and 2012, the Latino electorate grew 36%, while the white voter electorate shrunk by 1.5%, and between 2012 and 2016, there were projected to be 28,000 newly-eligible Latino voters in Ohio—immigrants becoming citizens and the native born turning 18.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, famously alienated Latinos from the beginning of his campaign, saying that Mexican immigrants are “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” In the first survey of Latino public opinion after that speech, conducted by Univision, 71% of Latinos had an unfavorable view of Trump. According to a July poll from Latino Decisions, in a matchup between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, only 16% of Latinos said they would vote for Trump and fully 78% have an unfavorable view of the Republican.

The damage of Donald Trump’s rhetoric goes far beyond the presidential race. In a July 2016 Latino Decisions survey, 46% of Latinos said they believed the Republican Party has become increasingly hostile to Latinos in recent years. This will likely have down-ticket consequences: 72% of respondents said they will vote Democrat in Congressional elections, and 71% said they will vote for the Democratic candidate for Senate (versus 19% who said they will vote Republican).

Latino Decisions calculated that the GOP would need to win approximately 43% of the Latino vote in Ohio to win a majority here in 2016.  However, Trump is on track to underperform even Mitt Romney’s low 23% of the Latino vote.

In addition to the percentage of Latinos supporting Clinton over Trump, the other factor behind Latino voters’ impact this election is turnout.  There are some early warning signs for the GOP.  In the July Latino Decisions poll, nearly half of respondents (54%) said they are more enthusiastic about voting in the upcoming election than they had been in 2012. In Ohio and elsewhere, stopping Trump has even become motivation for immigrants to apply for citizenship.

The Senate Race and the Trump Effect

Ohio GOP Senator Rob Portman is up for re-election in 2016. He was first elected in 2010, an off-year election. With Trump as the headliner at the top of the GOP ticket, there have been many reports that Republicans down-ballot—Senators, Congressmen, Governors, etc.—will attempt to distance themselves from Trump to preserve their seats.

In the case of Ohio’s GOP incumbent, Senator Portman is taking a different tack. His mantra seems to be that if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.  After initially voicing concern about the candidate, Portman has since fallen in line and even admitted he’ll probably campaign with Donald Trump.

Portman’s immigration positions, like Trump’s, focus on enforcement. In 2013, he opposed the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, complaining that the bill’s substantial enforcement provisions did not go far enough. He opposes the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program that has provided opportunities for thousands of young immigrants, brought to the U.S. as children, to complete their studies and gain employment in their field. When the President announced his latest executive actions on immigration in November 2014, proposing to protect the parents of U.S. citizen children, Portman again issued a statement of opposition.

His opponent, former Ohio Congressman and Governor Ted Strickland, supports the President’s executive actions on immigration and was critical of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s decision to join the lawsuit brought by the State of Texas against the President’s executive actions. In July 2016, Strickland joined immigrants in Lorain, Ohio for a “DAPA Dinner,” which joins elected officials with families to discuss how deferred action will impact them and their communities.  Senator Portman declined to attend any such event.

Several months out, the Senate race is very tight, and Latinos, Asian American, and African American voters could play a pivotal role in this race.

GOP Policies in Ohio are Hostile to Undocumented Immigrants. Latinos Take It Personally.

The GOP’s hostility towards the immigrant community predates Trump’s candidacy.

For example, Ohio does not allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses (except in the case of immigrants granted protection under the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The state does not give in-state tuition to undocumented resident students seeking to attend state colleges and universities.  Ohio’s Attorney General, Mike DeWine, added the state to a lawsuit brought by the State of Texas against President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Finally, according to a study by the University of California-Los Angeles, Ohio ranks last for support of the health and well-being of undocumented immigrants. The study ranks states according to public health and welfare services, higher education opportunities, labor and employment opportunities, access to driver’s licenses, and participation in Secure Communities.

While undocumented immigrants comprise less than a fifth of the immigrant population in Ohio, politicians’ stances on immigration can be influential to Latino, APIA, and pro-immigrant voters in general.  In the aforementioned Latino Decisions poll, 59% of Latino voters reported they had a friend, family member, or coworker who was undocumented, and 34% know someone who is facing deportation. More than half said they would not consider a candidate who was opposed to a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, even if they agreed with the candidate on other issues, according to a Washington Post-Univision poll.  Immigration is not just a policy for these voters; it’s personal.

In fact, as we have argued, in many ways Ohio is actually ground zero for the immigration debate.  It is a border state; it has state and local governments that have often been hostile toward immigrants, and a small but passionate band of civil society groups working to turn this around.  The hard-working immigrant population here has been covered extensively by national media because their stories are heartbreaking, unique, and common to the immigrant experience.  It also has a population of general election voters whose stances on immigration closely mirror the rest of the U.S.

In Ohio, Few Voters Support Mass Deportation of Undocumented Immigrants

According to Public Religion Research Institute, of Ohioans as a whole, 70% think undocumented immigrants should be allowed to remain in the U.S. — including 58% who say they should be allowed to become citizens if they meet certain requirements and another 12% who favor legal status without citizenship. Just 25% thought undocumented immigrants should be deported. 45% of Ohioans believe that newcomers from other countries strengthen American society, compared to 40% who believe that newcomers threaten traditional American customs and values. Across party lines, Ohioans support allowing undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S.

In the Republican primary in March 2016, according to CNN exit polls, immigration ranked last among four issues as an issue of concern for voters. Only 7% of respondents said it was their top issue. A majority of Republican primary voters (57%) told pollsters that they thought “illegal immigrants working in the U.S.” should be offered legal status. Two in five (39%) preferred deportation. Only Trump and Cruz supporters favored deportation over legalization.

Nationally, Latinos, Asian Americans, African Americans, and the young voters of the Millennial and Gen-X generations are more tolerant of immigrants, and much more supportive of allowing undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. The decreasing part of the electorate that is shrinking, an elderly, predominantly white population, is the least tolerant and voices most of the opposition to the idea of allowing undocumented immigrants to stay. Even within the GOP, there is a generational divide: younger voters are less supportive of the GOP’s hardline stance on immigration when compared to older Republicans.
Ohio’s Latino and Asian American population represent a small fraction of Ohio voters today. The population is growing rapidly, however, and shares much in common with Ohio’s African American voters.  If communities of color, feeling attacked, band together and turn out this election, they will be a force to be reckoned with.