Ahead of RNC, Republican Party and Donald Trump On Track for Historically Low Performance Among Latino Voters
New nationwide polling of Latino voters, conducted by Latino Decisions and commissioned by America’s Voice, underscores that Donald Trump is on track for an historically low performance among Latino voters and that the overall Republican brand image among Latinos remains tarnished. Additionally, the Supreme Court vacancy and the recent Court deadlock in U.S. v Texas case are shaping up as big 2016 issues for Latino voters.
Among the key findings in the new poll:
In Head-to-Head Matchup, Hillary Clinton Favored By 74%-16% Margin Over Donald Trump: 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 – meaning that his net favorability is underwater by 61 percentage points. Comparatively, Hillary Clinton has a positive favorability rating among Latino voters in the new poll at a 63%-32% margin.
The Republican Brand with Latino Voters is Deeply Damaged and Democratic Candidates are Favored by 4:1 Margins: 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).
Overwhelming Support for Immigration Executive Action Programs DACA and DAPA and Overwhelming Opposition to Republican Lawsuit Blocking DAPA Implementation: Both the 2012 immigration executive action program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the 2014 Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program enjoy the backing of more than 8-of-10 Latino voters – poll respondents support DACA by an 81%-13% margin and the DAPA program by a 83%-14% margin. Among Republican respondents in the poll, 60% support DACA and 56% back DAPA. Poll respondents were overwhelmingly opposed to the Republican lawsuit blocking the DAPA/DACA+ programs from going into effect, disagreeing with the GOP lawsuit by a 66%-28% margin.
Latino Voters Strongly Support Filling the Supreme Court Vacancy and View Court’s Future as Major 2016 Issue: By a 67%-23% margin, Latino voter respondents in the poll support the U.S. Senate taking a vote on nominee Merrick Garland this year, versus waiting until the next president can fill the vacancy. Additionally, by a 82%-15% margin, respondents said the Supreme Court was an important issue in deciding which candidate to support this November. When asked if “people like you would be worse off or better off” depending on which candidate could fill the Supreme Court vacancy, respondents said they would be “worse off” if Donald Trump chose the next nominee by a 70%-18% margin, and “better off” if Hillary Clinton chose the next nominee by a 62%-21% margin.
The Supreme Court Deadlock is Helping Increase Latino Voters’ Enthusiasm Compared to 2012 Cycle – However, Latino Voters Remain Prime Target for Additional Education and Outreach Efforts: When asked if the recent Supreme Court deadlock made respondents more enthusiastic about voting in 2016 compared to voters’ enthusiasm in 2012, 54% of Latino voters say they are more enthused about this election compared to four years ago. During the 2012 cycle, Latino Decisions pollsters asked a similar question, and enthusiasm among Latinos did not exceed 50% until the last week of October. However, the opportunity exists to bolster Latino voters’ education and engagement efforts even further – for example, only 49% of Latino respondents had heard about the recent Supreme Court deadlock on the U.S. v Texas case (vs. 46% who were not initially aware).
The new polling and their implications were the subject of a press call and webinar event today. According to Sylvia Manzano, Principal of Latino Decisions, “One of the most important takeaways from these numbers is the enthusiasm we are seeing among the Latino electorate heading into the 2016 election–a fair amount of which can be attributed to Donald Trump’s laser like focus on Latinos and immigrants during his campaign. When the Latino electorate is listening to a candidate regarding a policy that is relevant to undocumented immigrants–it is not an abstract debate, these are neighbors, family, friends. The Latino community and the undocumented community are quite intertwined and the latest numbers on voter enthusiasm reflect this. In 2012 Latino voter enthusiasm did not reach this high mark, 54%, until October. So what we’re seeing is much more voter enthusiasm, much earlier in the race this year than in previous elections.”
According to Ben Monterroso, Executive Director of Mi Familia Vota, “The Latino community is angry about the Republican party creating barriers to our community. We will fight back in the most effective way possible: through the power of our vote. We will hold the politicians, elected officials and the Republican party accountable for placing politics over the well-being of our families. This not just a Trump problem but a Republican party problem.”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Trump is deeply unpopular with Latino voters, and his party’s efforts to block relief for 5 million undocumented immigrants has only made matters worse, both for Trump and the GOP. If Trump were to get less than 20% of the Latino vote, it would mean that the GOP is going to need far more than an autopsy report to recover.”