New nationwide polling of Latino voters, conducted by Latino Decisions and commissioned by America’s Voice, makes clear that immigration matters to Latino voters; that Donald Trump is deeply unpopular with Latino voters; and that the Republican Party’s brand image with Latinos is deeply damaged and getting worse, due in part to Trump’s rise and the politicized U.S. v Texas Supreme Court case.
Among the key findings:
Immigration Matters to Latino Voters – It’s Personal: When asked the open-ended question, “what are the most important issues that you think Congress and the President should address,” Latino voters nationwide ranked the economy/jobs first at 36%, immigration second at 29%, and education and health care each at 13%. However, when asked “what are the most important issues facing the Latino community that you think Congress and the President should address?”, Latino voters ranked immigration first at 41%, followed by the economy/jobs (24%), education (16%), and anti-Latino or anti-immigrant discrimination at 10%. The polling underscores the fact that Latino voters have a personal connection to the immigration debate – 57% of Latino voters know someone who is undocumented; one-third of Latino voters (34%) know someone who has faced deportation or detention for immigration reasons; and one- third of Latino voters (33%) know someone who has applied for DACA.
Donald Trump and His Anti-Immigrant Views Are Incredibly Unpopular with Latinos: Despite growing speculationthat Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is trying to appear as a more “disciplined” candidate in preparation for a possible general election candidacy, the new Latino polling numbers makes clear the extent of the challenge Trump and the Republican Party will have in trying to reverse the damage inflicted by Trump’s anti-immigrant campaign. In the new polling, 87% of Latino voters have either a “very” or “somewhat” unfavorable opinion of Donald Trump (79% “very unfavorable”), as compared to just 9% of who view him as “very” or “somewhat” favorable – meaning that his net favorability is underwater by 78 percentage points. Trump’s views on mass deportation make Latino voters “less likely” to vote for Trump, rather than “more likely,” by an 87%-7% margin. And when asked to gauge Donald Trump’s views on immigrants and immigration on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being the most anti-immigrant and 10 being the most pro-immigrant, 71% of Latino voter respondents ranked Trump as a 1, the most extreme anti-immigrant ranking.
The Republican Brand with Latino Voters is Deeply Damaged – with Donald Trump Helping to Dig a Deeper Hole: Nearly 3-of-4 Latino voters say the Republican Party “doesn’t care too much about Latinos” (42%) or that the GOP is “sometimes hostile towards Latinos” (31%), while just 14% say the Republican Party “truly cares about the Latino community.” Additionally, 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, 42% say the Republican Party has become more hostile, 15% say the Republican Party has become more welcoming; and and 35% say no change. Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s views on immigration are taking a toll on the larger GOP brand – 78% of Latino respondents say that Trump’s views on immigrants and immigration make them “less likely” to vote Republican this November.
The Republican Presidential Nominee Could Underperform Mitt Romney in 2012: When asked candidate head-to-head matchups between the parties’ leading presidential contenders, Latino voters nationwide prefer Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 76%-11% margin, and Clinton over Ted Cruz by a 64%-29% margin. Bernie Sanders similarly is favored over Trump by a 78%-11% margin and over Cruz by a 65%-26% margin. In 2012, Latino voters ended up supporting President Obama by a 75%-23%margin over Mitt Romney in the 2012 general election, according to Latino Decisions Election Eve polling (71%-27% in media-sponsored exit polls).
The Political Impact of the U.S. v TexasRuling Will Matter this November: The polling also showed that Latino voters will punish the Republicans for opposing executive action and reward the Democrats for defending it. Per the new polling, knowing that Republican presidential candidates want to end DAPA, the 2014 executive action that would protect the undocumented parents of American children, makes Latino voters “less likely,” rather than “more likely,” to vote for the Republican Party this November by a 74%-14% margin in the case of DAPA. Similarly, knowing that Republican presidential candidates want to end DACA, the 2012 executive action that protects Dreamers, makes Latino voters “less likely,” rather than “more likely,” to vote for the Republican Party this November by a 73%-12% margin. Meanwhile, knowing that Democratic presidential candidates want to continue DAPA and DACA makes Latino voters “more likely,” rather than “less likely,” to vote for the Democratic Party this November by a 74%-15% margin in the case of DAPA and a 74%-13% margin in the case of DACA.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Immigration is of course a major issue for Latino voters, as is concern over the economy and jobs. By asking the ‘most important’ issue question in two different ways, the polling helps remind us that these issues are ‘both/and’ concerns for Latino voters, not ‘either/or’ issues. This election cycle has injected immigration into the national political debate in an unprecedented way and this polling brings home in stark reality the fact that Latino voters feel personally targeted by Donald Trump and the Republican Party as a whole. The numbers do not bode well for the Republicans and the vision of the inclusive party they had hoped to build post-2012.”
According to Sylvia Manzano, Principal of Latino Decisions, “Immigration has become a defining issue in this election and the Latino community feels this shift very sharply. There’s a feeling that the Latino community is under attack and we’re seeing that reflected in voting preferences and unfavorables toward the Republican Party. In fact, the GOP is helping to make Latino political identity more cohesive.”